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Phil Johnson Exceptional Leadership Award

The Board of Trustees of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) takes great pleasure in presenting the Project’s highest award, the Patriot Award, to Don Bell. Don’s tireless commitment to PHWFF, over the past 15 years, has been an immense and irreplaceable asset to PHWFF and has furthered the rehabilitation and healing of countless disabled men and women who have served in the military, past and present. His dedication to PHWFF, and involvement with the men and women we serve, is an inspiration to all.

As a founding and continuing member of the Executive Committee for the Mossy Creek Invitational (MCI), Don has been crucial to the longevity and success of PHWFF’s longest running and most profitable fundraising event. In his role as Director of Operations and Logistics, Don is responsible for every logistic detail, including facility and site preparation, meals, on-site transportation, supplies, parking, on-site safety, breakdown and clean-up and the preparation and execution of emergency hazardous weather plans. In this capacity he also recruits, directs and supervises the substantial volunteer workforce needed to make this large event possible. Don’s strong ties to the town of Bridgewater have been the key factor in garnering support from the town’s leaders and residents and the surrounding area. His forthright, humble and genuine demeanor have created the warm and welcoming environment that defines the spirit of the event. Put simply, without Don Bell, there would be no Mossy Creek Invitational.

As the MCI Director of Operations and Logistics, Don begins the process of organizing the event months in advance. His initiative, judgment and attention to detail have enabled the MCI to avoid or overcome the countless complications that can affect such a large and complex undertaking. This includes twice successfully evacuating participants and attendees due to hazardous weather and relocating meals and ceremonies to an alternate, indoor location. Don’s commitment and insight have led to constant, incremental fine-tuning of the MCI, enabling it to run more smoothly, more effectively and more profitably year after year after year. The fiscal result has been the raising of over $2 million over the past fifteen years. The intangible results are immeasurable in terms of making the day a fun, memorable and healing experience for all involved.

Don Bell epitomizes all that is exceptional and good in PHWFF Volunteerism. His long-term dedication and support and his total commitment to the disabled men and women PHWFF serves go well beyond that which could reasonably be expected from a volunteer. As such, his work within PHWFF is in keeping with the highest standards of the Patriot Award.

The Trustees of PHWFF are very proud to recognize him for his tremendous accomplishments as a true Patriot.

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