The 12th Annual Mossy Creek Invitational (MCI) benefiting Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc (PHWFF) and the thousands of disabled veterans the organization serves each year will be held on June 1, 2019 in Bridgewater, Virginia. The event serves as a fun fly fishing competition in which PHWFF veteran participants are paired with a sponsor and professional fly fishing guide for a day of memorable angling on Virginia’s famed Mossy Creek. For over a decade we have focused on healing those who serve and the MCI serves to raise funds to provide disabled veterans with the support they need on their journeys to recovery.
And now we are very pleased to introduce the veterans competitors for the 12th Annual Mossy Creek Invitational to you:
Mr. Caperton was born in Ft. Smith Arkansas and raised in Tulsa Oklahoma. He graduated at Will Rogers High School in 1967 where he enlisted in the Navy while still in School. Mr. Billy Caperton has been married to his wonderful wife for 30 years. He has three children, four grandchildren, and one great granddaughter. Mr. Caperton, after being honorably discharged from the Navy, went to work at Telex Computers. Later he worked in management for Sirloin Stockade, Skaggs Albertson, and manager for Oklahoma Tire and Supply Company of Oklahoma. Mr. Caperton then worked for many years in the aerospace industry as a mechanic with
McDonnell Douglas, Rockwell International, and Nordam Aircraft Repair Division. As the computer age began to develop Mr. Caperton switched his occupation from the aerospace industry to the computer industry. In less than two years Mr. Caperton worked his way up from mechanic to Manager of Information Systems for Nordam Repair Division, which was the third largest Aircraft Company in Oklahoma at the time. Mr. Caperton also supported the H&R Block stores in Tulsa and surrounding communities in Oklahoma as their Technical Advisor. Mr. Caperton finally had to retire due to his previous injuries he incurred while in the Navy. Mr. Caperton was discharged from Active Duty August 21, 1969. Mr. Caperton was classified as 100% disabled in 2011 by the Veterans Administration due to injuries he sustained while in the Navy.
Mr. Caperton drove the DAV van for Oklahoma Disabled American Veterans Chapter 44, taking Veterans to and from their homes for treatments for PTSD and other medical problems. The Veterans Administration later changed the qualifications to drive and he was disqualified due to his Pacemaker.
Mr. Caperton is a member of The American Legion, Trout Unlimited, and Lifetime Member of The DAV. Mr. Caperton also participates in VETri glass blowing for Veterans, Heroes on the Water, and Tulsa Prepper Group activities.
Mr. Caperton heard about PHWFF and found a passion and love for fly fishing. He enjoys spending time with fellow veterans and volunteers to help where he is needed in the group. He has also helped with fundraising for PHWFF.
Christopher was born on January 3 1980 to Stephen M. Murphy and Nancy K. Murphy in Grand Junction, Colorado- though he will tell you he’s from Texas. Some of Christopher’s earliest memories are of being in the outdoors with his family. He grew up fishing in both the Rocky Mountains and on the Texas coast but it wasn’t until later in life that he would learn to fly fish. After graduating from high school Christopher attended Texas State University and enlisted into the Army in 2003 and was stationed at Ft Benning Ga.
Christopher deployed in 2005 to Iraq as an Infantryman with 1-15 Infantry and was evacuated home after his hummvee was struck by an RPG in July of that same year. After several surgeries Christopher was transferred to Warrior Transition Battalion at Ft. Benning. It was there that a Vietnam Veteran came and talked about the peace he found while on the river. Christopher will gladly tell you that he always comes off the water a better person than when he entered.
Since medically retiring from the Army in 2013 Christopher has participated with both the Auburn and Atlanta Chapters of Project Healing Waters. Christopher was able to sit and discern what he wanted to do with the rest of his life and what kept coming to mind was that he wanted to be able to provide the kind of care that he and so many other service men and women received while being evacuated. To him that care and compassion came in from the nurses who helped care for him every day. Christopher has recently met his goals and is currently working as an emergency room nurse in Columbus, Georgia.
“I couldn’t have reached my goals or continue to serve my community if I didn’t have Project Healing Waters to help me.”
Christopher currently lives in Columbus, Georgia with his son Micheal (age 11) and his fiancé Kristie.
Clifford is a Native Vermonter, born and raised in Burlington VT. Clifford joined the Vermont National Guard in November of 1988 and served till November 2012. While in the VTNG he served with the Field Artillery Battalion and then served with the Maintenance company until his retirement. Since his retirement he has excelled in being self-taught in numerous crafts as a form of overcoming his own disabilities. Clifford has shown an amazing eye for detail in all of his work. Most recently Clifford has picked up the craft of rod building and fly tying through Green Mountain Project Healing Waters fly Fishing. Clifford has mastered the tying of delicate fly while overcoming the limitations with his hands. Clifford has inspired many other Veterans in the group through his resiliency and his motto “Well….let’s just figure it out” attitude. Clifford has recently taken on a leadership role with organizing Veterans participants for the PHWFF National Rod Building Competitions. Clifford has spent numerous hours outside of our regular scheduled meeting times to invite veterans into his home to work on complex wrappings so that each veteran is successful with their finished fly rod. Clifford has also branched out his talents and has been making other wooden crafts like bowls, pens, and wine bottle stoppers. Clifford continues his service to our country by helping other veteran overcome physical challenges by role modeling that he can still do fine crafts, but it may just a little extra time.
David Gifford graduated from Quaker Valley, Glenfield near Pittsburgh Pa and went to Boot Camp at Fort Benning Ga graduating 11H in 1987. He remained in the infantry at Fort Lewis Wa until 1990 then he reclassified to 63B and and went to Fort Wainwright Ak till 1994. Upon leaving Alaska he joined the Pennsyslvainia Army National Guard and remained enlisted until 2014.
While in the National guard he was hired to work as a technician at the CSMS West and remained employed there until 2014. He was hit by a car while stopped on a motorcycle on his way to work, September 3, 2013. He received a spinal cord injury T10-T12 Asia A. It is complete and cannot be repaired. After the accident he joined the Paralyzed Veterans of America. He volunteers with Mercy Spinal Support Group talking to people who recently acquired spinal cord injuries where he participates in group or one on one with patients. He attends the National Wheelchair Games and the Buckeye Wheelchair Games where he competes in track, obstacle courses, shooting air rifle and air pistol. He trains and has raced handcycle in the Pittsburgh Marathon 26 miles, Pittsburgh 10 miler, Gettysburg half marathon, March for Fallen at Indian Town Gap 28 miles and the Army 10 Miler several times. Being independent is something he strives for everyday: driving, volunteering, even shopping on his own is something he takes pride in.
Since the injury he has continued to hunt, spin fish and fly fish. He visits inpatient Veterans with spinal cord related issues at the Aspinwall VA. His goal is to inspire everyone around him to do whatever they are capable of. He continues to learn how to tie flies with PHWFF and is entering the Rod Building contest for the first time with a rod completely built by him this year. Over the last few years he has attended several outings and looks forward to more. He assists the Pittsburgh PL by providing insight into accommodations for wheelchair users. Their goal is to make it easier to accommodate Veterans in wheelchairs for outings so they can continue to fish and enjoy the outdoors.
David enjoys his time with other Veterans at Healing Waters very much. He looks forward to the weekly meetings whether he is tying flies, working on fishing rods or just talking to members of Healing Waters.
Healing Waters continues to help David by enabling him to help others.
I was born on 9/12/1985 in Lincoln, NE. I moved to Maryland when I was 4 years old and with a few exceptions have lived here since then. I graduated from Arundel High School in 2003 and went on to attend Temple University to study athletic training for 3 years before changing my major to nursing and transferring to Salisbury University in the fall of 2006. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Salisbury in 2009. I entered the Army Nurse Corps via Direct Commission in July 2009. After officer training, I was stationed at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, TX. I served in many different roles before my medical retirement in October 2013. I then worked from January 2014 to February 2015 as a staff nurse at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. Currently, I am living in Maryland and work part-time as a driver for Uber and Lyft. I have 2 wonderful dogs and participate in archery in addition to fly fishing. I am also actively taking acoustic guitar lessons.
In 1978 Greg joined the United States Navy where he was assigned to the USS Patrick Henry (SSBN-599) Fleet Ballistic Submarine stationed at Pearl Harbor Hawaii. After ending his tour of duty in 1982 with two years of reserve, he was Honorably Discharged in 1984 as a Radioman Third Class (SS).
In 1984 Greg joined the Tennessee Army National Guard assigned to HHB 196th Field Artillery Brigade. He was deployed in 1991 with his unit to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Upon returning from the Gulf War Greg transferred to Battery “B” 1-181st Field Artillery Battalion as Platoon Sergeant (E7) of a Multiple
Launch Rocket System (MLRS). After several years with this Unit he transferred back to the 196th Field Artillery Brigade where he assumed command as First Sergeant. Greg retired as 1st Sergeant (E8) in 2003 with 25 years of dedicated and honorable service.
Greg has actively been with the PHWFF Chattanooga program since its inception in 2013. Greg feels he will never be able to fully express how much this program means to him. It has given him renewed hopes and passions that will forever impact his life. The concentration and focus necessary to work through the small details involved in fly tying, rod building, and knots is something he has not experienced in a long time. The camaraderie Greg has with the other veterans is priceless. He tries to pass on his knowledge of the PHWFF program to every veteran he meets. Greg also has a high admiration for PHWFF volunteers.
My name is Hugh R Trout, I graduated from Hempfield Area High School in Pennsylvania.
Joined the Navy in 1979, served on the USS America (CV-66) as a jet mechanic final checker. Deployed to the Falklands, Libia and Lebanon multiple times. Served six years and got out to go to college. Started my own business and still run it today. Joined the Army National Guard in 2008 with Apache helicopters and have been deployed twice to Afghanistan. I was injured in April of 2018 and am currently in the wounded warrior battalion at Ft Belvior, VA
John McKenzie is a retired USAF Chief Master Sergeant (E-9) with almost 36 years combined military service in the Air Force and the New Mexico Air National Guard. John started as an Aircraft Electronics Technician and finished his career as the Superintendent of the Component Repair Maintenance Squadron. John supported the B-52, KC-135, C-130, A-7, and F-16, helicopters, including the H-3, H-53, UH-1, and UH-60.
John was born on Feb 20, 1955 in Bayonne, New Jersey, but he considers Bosque Farms, NM as his hometown.
He graduated Moriarty High School in 1973. John joined the Air Force in 1976 and attended basic training at
Lackland AFB Texas. He has been married for 42 years and has 3 children. While serving in 7 ½ year in the Air Force and 28 years in the Air Guard, he completed both his Bachelor’s degree in 1985 and his Master’s Degree in 1987 in Economics from the University of New Mexico.
John was the co-founder/president of Habitat for Humanity-Valencia from 1996-2004. AYSO soccer from 1981 to 1989 and was the founder of Valencia del Rio soccer from 1991-2000. After the 2004 Iraq deployment, he had to give this all up due to his undiagnosed PTS and his continuing bouts of vertigo.
John McKenzie had numerous deployments in his long career to include Bosnia in 1997 and Iraq deployments in 2004, 2007 and Hurricane Katrina relief in 2005. He was stationed at Camp Anaconda/Balad Air Base, Iraq in 2004 when Balad averaged over 300 multiple mortar/RPG attacks per month. One of these mortars exploded almost on top of John and he was treated for severe vertigo and a concussion due to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Upon return to the US in 2004, his family and his peers in the NM Air Guard started noticing changes in John’s behavior. He became very withdrawn, always angry, depressed, and very irritable. As long as he stayed busy he was fine and John became very good at masking the pain he was feeling.
John’s condition worsened and In April 2012 a fellow Chief Master Sergeant took John to the VAMC in Albuquerque, NM where he was diagnosed with severe Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and depression. John retired from the Air Force in December 2012 and he began receiving extensive treatment from the VAMC and has been receiving care there since for the after effects of TBI, PTS, and wounds from his deployments to Iraq.
John’s retirement and the subsequent quiet time, became increasingly difficult to keep intrusive thoughts, “His Demons”, as he likes to say, at bay. John remembered the deaths of two Army soldiers that he would eat and hangout with every day after shift and how it affected him. He was also unfortunately assigned to help out in the morgue, further increasing his survivor’s guilt. As he relived the blast he blamed himself for being in the wrong place at the right time and John became more isolated and angrier and began wanting to end the pain.
John’s wife was becoming increasingly concerned and had heard about Project Healing Waters that was meeting at the Albuquerque VA and wanted him to look into it. His response to the idea, was, in no way did he want or need any program to help him. Finally, instead of going to dinner one night as planned, his wife dropped him off at the PHWFF meeting instead. John initially was angered and remembers telling her he would go the one time, BUT HE WILL NOT LIKE IT.
That was 5 years ago. Something happened to John when he walked in the VAMC Recreation Hall for that initial class and he will tell anyone who will listen that PHWFF saved his life. The excitement and satisfaction of watching a fish take a fly he tied in class coupled with the simple act of watching a drifting fly, casting, and being outdoors amongst fellow veterans, gave him purpose and a sense of peace that John had been missing for a long time. This outdoor therapy lessens the impact of John’s PTS and depression.
He has been able to participate in all aspects of the PHWFF program – rod building, fly tying, casting, and fishing and along with the unbiased support from PHWFF, which makes a huge difference. John now interacts more freely and does not isolate himself as he did in the past. PHWFF has helped John cope with his PTS and this is the greatest gift PHWFF has given him, a sense of peace.
John wanted to return the kindness he received to other veterans almost as soon as he started the program. He became a volunteer, first only knowing how to tie a fly on a leader. John started out as a strong back assisting at meetings and helping with group trips to the Pecos River and smaller trips to the San Juan River here in New Mexico. John now helps organize and lead trips and mentor veterans with their fly tying, fly rod rigging, and casting. He is also the Assistant Program Lead for the Albuquerque Program where he assists with administrative issues, fund raising, meeting set up, and group trips.
John immediately felt the benefit of the PHWFF program and knew he could apply one of his strengths to benefit his fellow veterans. He lends a sympathetic ear to veterans and acts as a sounding board. He has been where many of our veterans are at. He shares his story and how PHWFF helped him, in an effort to bring veterans to PHWFF and keep them in the program. John believes by doing this, it helps each veteran gain a better understanding of where they are coming from and helps resolve any issues that could come up.
Though John is not out of the woods with his issues, he in a better place due to PHWFF.
Born and raised just south of Pittsburgh PA, I spent much of my time outside or playing sports. I was fortunate to find myself addicted to fishing at an early age, which has turned into something special. I began fishing small trout creeks and lakes while sitting on 5-gallon buckets. While trout were my favorite, any farm pond within 20 miles was worth the time to stop and cast. At 13, I was given the chance to go fly-fishing, I have not stopped since. While I enjoy any time on the water, casting flys is my clear focus.
Graduate of Trinity High School, I left for the Marines directly after graduation. I spent my time in the Marines as a Finance Technician under great leadership. Having leaders that believed in lifetime learning I was given many opportunities to reach outside of my job field and experience places and cultures that I hold in great regard.
My most important accomplishment is that I am a Father to two great sons and a husband to my beautiful wife. While I spend more than my share of time on the water, I feel very lucky to spend every other moment with them. They support my passion to help others begin or further their fishing skills and take part when they can. They have shared their home to participants during rod building sessions, for dinner and fly tying sessions. They too are a part of Project Healing Waters in my mind!
My time with Project Healing Waters has been close to two years now but I look forward to what the future brings. I enjoy attending the program meetings just as much as traveling to other programs to fish with participants. I look forward to a lifetime connection with other veterans on the water.
Raymond Collette was born February 27,1988 in Concord NH. Raised in a state with some of the most amazing trout streams on the east coast, he didn’t discovery fly fishing until Project Healing Waters found him. Raymond graduated Merrimack Valley High School where he was very active in soccer, fishing and hiking. After graduating high school he later joined the Air Force as a A-10c Avionics Technician. He was stationed at Spangdahlem AB Germany for 3 years then later was stationed at Moody AFB Georgia. While in the Air Force he deployed twice once to Qatar and to Afghanistan. After separating from the Air Force to support his wifes military career Raymond started going to college in pursuit of his bachelors degree. After roughly a year Raymond was fishing at Fort Meade on the local lake where he found a Project Healing Waters fishing. After leaving the military he was in a sense lost, and was missing the military brotherhood and being with others who could relate to the military and the transition into civilian life. After meeting with the Fort Meade program he was home, he found new brothers and sisters and his passion for the outdoors and fishing. The program changed his life, he became very interested and active in the program with fly fishing at first then later discovery fly tying. After being with the Fort Meade program for roughly 3 years Raymond has now become the fly tying instructor for the program and on outing regularly helps other participants in understanding how to fly fish and his love for nymph fishing. Raymond also helps other programs local to the National Capital Region and goes to local fly tying events promoting the Project Healing Waters mission.
Richard Macias attended Garfield High School and West LA College. He served in the Army in
Vietnam 68 -70. He became crew chief on troop Carine helicopters in the 92nd Assault Helicopter Company. Later he became crew chief of the gun platoon on the gunships Charlie models until discharge. After his service, Richard worked in construction as a superintendent building hotels. Richard has been in the Long Beach Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing for one year. He feels very comfortable with all the volunteers who are teaching fly fishing program and was very excited to start rod building at the beginning of 2018. Richard feels that all the volunteers who are helping veterans are very patient and caring.
Richard Scott Roane was born 8/19/1946. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout Sept/1959.
Graduated from Maine East HS in Park Ridge, IL in 1964. Attended Lake Forest College. Was drafted in March ’68. Trained as a 52B20 (Diesel Gen Operator). Promoted to SP4 upon graduation. Went to Vietnam Sept ’68 to 56th ARTY, Americal. Hawk Missile site.
Transferred to 16th Combat Aviation, Chu Lai June ’69. Perimeter Security. Awarded Army
Commendation. DEROS 10/5/69 with an Honorable Discharge. Graduated University of Illinois at Chicago June ’71 in Finance. Received C.P.A. in 1979. Started a software consulting and implementation company in 1981. Currently semi-retired.
Volunteers for PHWFF every other week.
Past President and treasurer of Lee Wulff, Trout Unlimited chapter. Still very active in conservation.
Past Quartermaster of VFW Post 12014. Still very active.
Past President of community association board for Trout Valley, IL.
Even though he still goes to PTSD counseling, Fly Fishing is the salve that makes it all disappear.
“The only complete peace and serenity is on the water.”
He wants to share that with the other vets no matter their age, rank, active or Vet, or disability.
“We all have something.”
Richard was born in Glendale, California. He graduated from Hoover High School in 1964. After high school, Richard began working in construction. In 1967, he was drafted by the US Army. He did basic training in Ft. Lewis Washington. After completing basic training, he attended Telegraph Communications and Voice Radio School in Ft. Huachucaa, Arizona. Three months later he was sent to Viet Nam. Richard was assigned to the 86th Combat Engineer Battalion, 595th Engineer Company LE. Fourteen months later was honorably discharged and Richard resumed civilian life and went back to construction.
In 2014, Richard moved from Cedar City, Utah to Colorado for
work. Richard discovered the Welcome Home Alliance for Veterans Center in Montrose, Colorado. Richard had suffered with PTSD for numerous years somewhat in silence. He adopted Lilly, a rescue dog, but finding WHAFV changed his life. He was introduced to numerous veterans with not only the same issues of PTSD, but with the same love of outdoors and especially for fishing. Richard then became a valuable member of the volunteer staff as an employment liaison.
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing opened a new chapter in Montrose at the Welcome Home Alliance for Veterans (WHAFV) in 2016. At that time, Richard was introduced to fly fishing. An avid fisherman, Richard always wanted to learn to fly fish. The opportunity to learn to tie his own flies with hands on teaching from amazing and dedicated staff was life changing. After he finished his first year with PHWFF, he returned as a participating volunteer. He is currently working on his 3rd competition rod and mentoring new graduate participants on their first competition rod.
Richard has attended numerous PHWFF local outings in Colorado both as a participant and mentor. He was also nominated and selected for the 2018 National PHWFF trip to Kodiak, Alaska. This was truly a trip of a lifetime and is an experience that now has him motivated to share his story of recovery by becoming an ambassador for PHWFF.
Richard is also active in sharing his mentorship and volunteer abilities with other nonprofit organizations like Welcome Home Alliance for Veterans and LEADS (Leadership, Education, Adventure, Development, Service). Like PHWFF, these organizations are also centered around healing and preparing safe environments for veterans.
Richard looks forward to establishing new relationships through the camaraderie offered by PHWFF and advancing his fly fishing and fly tying skills while continuing to volunteer as a mentor in Montrose, CO
Val was born and raised in Idaho as part of a family of avid sportsmen (and women), where hunting and fishing were what you did in your free time. When he enlisted in the U.S. Navy right out of high school, he was removed from that environment of fishing and hunting and sent around the world to serve the needs of the Navy’s Cryptologic community during the “Cold War”. Val’s initial two years of training in Pensacola, FL led to another three years instructing electronics, during which time he met and married his wife of 35 years, Sandy. After Florida, Val was assigned to Iceland, Spain, and two tours in the Washington DC area, the last 6 ½ years at the White House. Retiring with a disability rating that qualified him for the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation program, he was able to complete a BS in Computer Science with the University of Maryland and start a small business in computer network design and support. Later, his love of classic cars led him to start a new business restoring classic Mustangs and Shelby Cobras.
At a meeting of the local Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) chapter, Val first learned about Project Healing Waters and decided he wanted to become a volunteer. After attending the first meeting it was clear that his fly fishing knowledge from 40 years ago wasn’t going to be much help, so he became a participant to learn what he would need to know to be useful to the program. Although he couldn’t help out immediately, connecting with the program has enabled him to return to a sport he enjoyed in his youth.
Val enjoys meeting fellow veterans in the program and is happy that he can already contribute by assisting other participants in tying flies. An enthusiastic learner, Val has been reading books and watching videos on fly fishing and fly tying. That additional knowledge has enabled him to make several solo fishing trips and he has already caught many fish on the flies he tied since joining the program. Val is looking forward to upcoming group fishing trips and developing his skills so that he’ll be better able to share the benefits of fly fishing with other veterans.
Sergeant First Class William Miller II was born in Texas City, Texas in 1959. Joined the US Army in August 1978 and attended One Station Unit Training in Ft McClellan, Alabama to become a Military Policeman. In October of 1982, attended Infantry training at Ft Benning, Georgia to become an Infantryman.
During his Military career Sergeant First Class Miller served as a Platoon Sergeant, Squad Leader, Fire Team Leader and a US Army Recruiter.
Sergeant First Class Miller has been assigned to the following units: Military Police Company, Military District of Washington, 1st Battalion 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany, 2nd Battalion 41st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Division in Fort Hood, Texas, US Army Recruiting Battalion, Montgomery, Alabama and the 7th Army Training Command in Hohenfels, Germany. Sergeant First Class Miller is currently retired from the US Army and residing in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Sergeant First Class Miller military and civilian education includes the Primary Non-Commissioned Officers course, Basic Non-Commissioned Officers course, Army Recruiting course, Recruiting Station Commanders course, Advanced Non-Commissioned Officers course and has completed an Associate in Applied Science degree from Northwest Shoals Community College in Business Systems programming.
Sergeant First Class Miller awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army
Commendation Medal(2nd award), Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal(5th award), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon(#2), Professional Development Ribbon(#3), Nation Defense Medal and an Army Recruiting Badge(gold).
William Miller is married to Tina Miller since May 1981, has a daughter and a grandson and currently is employed with MedHost; a company located in Franklin, Tennessee and is working as a software engineer.
William joined Project Healing Waters two years ago to make friends and enjoy nature. He is a quiet man, but now that he has been in the program fly fishing he has become extremely outgoing to the other veterans. He helps the program and other participants anytime he can while still trying to learn himself. If you mention fly fishing, he is there with his fly rod. The first in line to fish. He loves it. He is a great representative for us.
To learn more about the 12th Annual Mossy Creek Invitational please click here