Presented by Ropes & Gray, Healing on the Fly-Boston is an evening in support of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and the thousands of disabled veterans they serve each year across the United States. For tickets, sponsorship opportunities, or additional event information please visit www.projecthealingwaters.org/fundraisers/healing-on-the-fly-boston
The 2nd Annual Healing on the Fly-Boston Gala Dinner and Auction is set to take place at 6:00 pm on October 23, 2018 at The Seaport World Trade Center. All proceeds from the event will go towards providing the thousands of disabled veterans served by PHWFF with the support they need on their journeys to recovery.
The evening will feature a cocktail hour with silent auction, seated dinner, a short program featuring PHWFF veteran guest speakers Michael May, U.S. Navy (ret) and Sabrina Beganny, U.S. Army (ret) as well as a live auction with many unique specialty items. May and Beganny will share their experiences as participants in the PHWFF New England Region and how this transformative program inspired them to give back to fellow veterans in their communities. We’re pleased to introduce them to you below:
Michael May, U.S. Navy (ret)
Michael May was born in Hackensack, New Jersey. He attended Pequannock Township and graduated in 1971. Michael then enlisted in the U.S. Navy in August 1971. He completed Nuclear Power Operators training in 1973 and was assigned to USS Sam Houston. In 1975 Michael was selected for the NESEP program. Later he graduated from Rutgers University in 1978, with a degree in Nuclear Engineering and then was assigned to USS Silversides upon completion of training and was qualified to work on submarines. Employed by Portsmouth Naval Shipyard upon completion of naval service, Michael performed duties as Nuclear Chief Test Engineer for numerous submarine maintenance periods. He later retired in 2010. Michael loves to volunteer and since his retirement has kept busy with FFI certified casting instruction, being a registered Marine guide, a Licenses New York State guide, and guide staff for Orvis, Rio, Sage, Simms and Patagonia.
Michael has a love for volunteering as he is a Boy Scout Fly Fishing Merit Badge counselor and volunteers at The Trout Unlimited Trout Camp. He joined Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing in 2010 after retirement and, after being a part of the program, volunteered to be the Program Lead for Togus VAMC in 2017.
Michael stated: “PHWFF is mainstay of life for me. The challenges of the program help me to rise above my issues and drives me to make it better for all disabled veterans. Working with volunteers helping them to reach others is paramount to me. PHWFF has re-centered me during some of the darkest periods of life. The contribution and difference made by sharing fellow veterans the beauty of fly fishing gives them a piece of me. That connection with them means everything to me”
Sabrina Beganny, U.S. Army (ret)
Sabrina Beganny grew up in a small town in Maine. She was raised in a family where hunting, fishing and the outdoors were a way of life. Her family owned a small bait and tackle shop where as a child, she looked on as her father made his own fly-rods and tied all his own flies with pride. As Sabrina entered her teenage years, she lost touch with that way of life. After graduating from high school she completed a couple years of college and then accepted a position with a major retail company in San Francisco. She was happy but always felt like there was something missing.
Sabrina yearned for values and character stronger than she’d ever known in herself. In 2001, she entered a recruiting office in Oakland, CA and enlisted in the U.S. Army to become a medical specialist with additional training to become a physical therapy assistant and to continue to grow in that field. (91BN9)
She did her basic training at Ft. Leonardwood, MO and did her medical training at Ft. Sam Houston, TX. She spent most of her time in, working at Brooke Army Medical Center in many different areas. One being the burn unit in which she helped in the rehabilitation of injured soldiers. This experience left a mark on Sabrina that she will never forget. During her time stationed at Ft. Sam, Sabrina was diagnosed with a bone condition that was uncommon for somebody her age. Doctors believe it to be caused by physical trauma from training, which went misdiagnosed for quite some time. Due to her inability to compete with her peers because of the physical limitations she now had, Sabrina was eventually medically discharged.
Leaving the Army was not in Sabrina’s plan. She thought she had her future mapped out. Sabrina moved back home to Maine to continue to work through her physical struggles. Her dream of being a PT for the military had come to an end. Sabrina’s health condition affected all areas of her life.
The trauma from the condition and surgery left her with intense chronic pain. She struggled to withstand the physical demands of work and school. Sabrina had a hard time coping with these new limitations. She was unable to partake in activities that once brought her joy. These factors contributed to a long road of depression and anxiety.
Through various therapies, Sabrina has now learned excellent coping skills so that she is able to find joy once again and to be active with her family. She was eventually able to graduate with a BA in Wellness and Sport Management. Her hopes are to help others like herself learn ways to be lead a meaningful and happy life while living with physical limitations.
In 2014 Sabrina tagged along with her husband on a fishing trip. She would normally just look on
and watch her husband fish, admiring the peace that came over him, but never understanding how he could stand in that stream all day long without getting restless. One particular evening, just as the sun was setting and the salmon began to rise, she didn’t have any waders on, so as to not get wet her husband carried her out to a rock in the middle of the stream, put the fly rod in her hands and in that moment memories of her childhood and father came flooding back. With that glimpse into the world of fly fishing, Sabrina began to seek out ways to keep that feeling alive.
During a trip to the VA for a routine doctors appointment, Sabrina noticed a poster for PHWFF. It was like the universe had placed it there just for her to see that day. She was a bit nervous to go,
not sure how well she would fit in or be accepted. Sabrina always struggled with her title as a “Veteran”, because she felt that her short time in the service hardly warranted the esteemed title. How could she be categorized with those that truly risked their lives for our nation and it’s causes. She got the courage to attend her first meeting and was pleasantly surprised at how all the veterans and volunteers in the program were so welcoming. Each one of the members shaking her hand and letting her know how happy they were that she made the decision to come. This was the beginning of a healing inside of her she did not expect.
Project Healing Waters has greatly contributed to Sabrina’s recovery in that it has enhanced her life by filling her with new purpose and friendship. The program has taught Sabrina to use nature as a platform for healing. “Fly fishing kind of changed my perspective in what I wanted in life, it feels like home, a mixture of comfort, peace and hope. This feeling became my way of connecting with and remembering my father and the love for the outdoors the he instilled in me early on in my life, that I thought was lost forever.”
Sabrina plans to continue to be apart of PHWFF and thinks of the participants in her group as family. She strives to be a strong role model and to ultimately make a difference every day. Her hopes for the future are to teach and inspire others about the joy and peace that comes from being in the stream and the healing that fly fishing can bring, the way Project Healing Waters has done and continues to do for her.
For a little more than a decade PHWFF has focused on healing those who serve. It is through the tremendous contributions of supporters and volunteers nationwide that PHWFF served over 8,400 deserving members of our armed services in 2017.
For tickets, sponsorship opportunities, or additional event information please visit www.projecthealingwaters.org/fundraisers/healing-on-the-fly-boston