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Phil Johnson Exceptional Leadership Award

PROJECT HEALING WATERS FLY FISHING, INC. (PHWFF) takes great pleasure in presenting the Club Excellence Award to New Mexico Trout (NMT) for its partnership with the PHWFF Albuquerque Program from 2009 to 2020. During this period NMT provided excellence in out-reach within their geographical area, fundraising support, PHWFF program services, volunteer recruitment and retention, program innovation, and increased community awareness for the PHWFF mission, vision, and core values.

The PHWFF Albuquerque Program began operating in May 2009 in partnership with NMT and the Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Growing steadily over the past 11 years, the PHWFF Program now provides its unique form of healing to more than 40 participants. The dedication and commitment from NMT recruited numerous highly skilled volunteers, maintaining a roster of 20-25 volunteers each year. Of these dedicated Patriots, five volunteers consistently supported the program from its beginning in 2009 and seven volunteers for five to seven consecutive years. Of the 25 volunteers, five are former participants.

Additionally, New Mexico Trout maintained an emphasis on volunteer training, particularly in the area of casting. Throughout this period NMT conducted separate volunteer meetings dedicated to increasing proficiency and consistency in the casting program. Through their partnership with the PHWFF Albuquerque Program, NMT also uses a variety of media for outreach to the community about PHWFF and its benefits for disabled active duty service personnel and disabled veterans. The Program Lead and participants routinely promoted the program on local radio stations and conducted three local television interviews to discuss the program’s physical and emotional healing. The program also enlisted support from local newspapers, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, and New Mexico Trout (NMT) to write supportive articles about the PHWFF Albuquerque Program.

They also use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote the program and fundraising events to support the program’s core program activities – fly tying, fly rod building, fly casting, fly fishing education, and fly fishing outings.

Well organized and noted for its exceptional leadership team, the PHWFF Albuquerque Program consistently delivers a thoughtful and focused fly fishing program. Throughout this period, the PHWFF Albuquerque Program grew each year, logically expanding its offerings based on available resources to provide all PHWFF core activities. Always a quality program, two of the most successful aspects remain its financial and operational efficiencies. The Albuquerque program delivers core activities of fly tying, casting, fishing, rod building, and educational sessions in a therapeutic en-
vironment – taking an average of 10 participants on six two-night, three-day trips to the San Juan River and four large group outings to the Pecos River each year. The program delivers additional fishing opportunities in Colorado. They also send two participants each year to the Fly Fishers International Expo to increase fly fishing’s therapeutic benefits for them. The PHWFF Albuquerque Program lives and breathes the PHWFF mission and delivers an open and accepting program that includes both male and female participants creating a community where our participants can heal.