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Phil Johnson Exceptional Leadership Award

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) takes great pleasure in presenting the Phil Johnson Exceptional Leadership Award to Hank Pitcher for his dedicated and inspiring service to our organization from 2013 to 2020. During this period, his selfless efforts and extreme generosity were directly responsible for the growth and continuous improvement to the organization’s Program at Walter Reed National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

In 2018, Hank began organizing an expansion to the program. The National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) is a privately-funded operation at Walter Reed which works with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patients. NICoE studies TBI and brings in small groups of warriors to study their individual problems and work on coping mechanisms. Hank successfully worked with the recreational therapy technician there to take our program to them. Hank leads fly tying for this very successful program.

Hank is also the leader for the program’s monthly outings to the pond at the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) in Washington, D.C. This pond is important to our program. A half hour away from Walter Reed, it is a great place for the participants to catch bass, blue gill, crappie, the occasional catfish, and have a cookout. A major part of Hank’s responsibility is getting an annual agreement signed with the Home to allow us to fly fish there.

Hank also led the program’s fly rod building activities. Hank developed a real interest in rod building, particularly bamboo fly rods, and wants to spread his love of this activity to others in the program. To that end he is actively involved in the All Bamboo Regional Outing, working with the Regional Coordinator to help organize this outing.

Hank is one of those volunteers who is a joy to have in the program. He is enthusiastic, caring, energetic and has a great sense of humor. The program’s volunteers and participants love and respect him. He easily engages with them and brings new volunteers and participants into the program. At program meetings he always insured that equipment is out and all participants are engaged in core program activities. Hank always stepped up and set the example for the others to follow by identifying the problem, proposing a solution, and then carrying it out. As demonstrated in the NICoE program, Hank constantly explores new ideas on how to improve and expand the program. His commitment to our Cause inspired all volunteers and participants involved in the program to become a stronger team and to build better friendships. All who know Hank will attest to the positive impact the program has made on their lives and the role model of selfless devotion, mentoring, and leadership he provided to them. His tireless efforts created a community where our participants can heal.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. is proud to bestow upon Hank Pitcher the Phil Johnson Exceptional Leadership Award for his tireless and extraordinary service to our organization and to those wounded, ill, and injured servicemen and servicewomen and disabled veterans whom this organization serves.