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On Saturday October 2, the Colorado Springs Program of PHWFF held a fundraising event sponsored by the Coffee Cabin in Parker, Colorado.

The owner of the Coffee Cabin, Wes Crespi, is the son-in-law of a Colorado Springs participant, Jim Heinrich. After seeing the change that fly fishing and tying had done with respect to PTSD, he wanted to do ensure other veterans had the same opportunity.

“You never know what you’re going to get with a fundraiser,” volunteer for Colorado Springs Mike McCleish said. “I went in with a goal to make sure I would inform as many people as I could about our mission and how the program has affected me.”

McCleish said that as he mingled throughout the crowd, it was clear everyone was there to help veterans.

“I was able to engage attendees on a variety of topics from the program to military service and just laugh and joke about random things we had in common. Besides the PHWFF participants, we met many other veterans, and was able to tell them about Project Healing Waters.”

As the auction was winding down, McCleish said that the auctioneer complimented the crowd and said that he was sure those that didn’t win any of the auctions would likely still want to contribute to our cause.  

The auctioneer said, “I am going to throw out a big number, and if you’re willing and able, please throw up your paddle.”

“$5,000,” the auctioneer belted.

“This young man sitting fairly close to me threw up his paddle without any hesitation,” McCleish said. “I was on my way over to personally thank him, but he got pulled on stage before I could reach him.”

This young man told us his grandfather was a Vietnam vet and suffered from PTSD up until the day he passed away; which had happened fairly recently. After seeing all of us and hearing our stories, he said he is sure his grandfather would have benefited from our program and wanted to make a donation in his honor. There were some tears when he told us. I gave him a big handshake and hug later.

colorado springs volunteer mike mccleish

McCleish would like to thank every single person who showed up for the fundraiser, and he tried his best to personally do so.

He would also like to thank the family and friends of participant Jim Heinrich. “They ran the entire event like professionals.”

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing would like to thank Wes Crespi for all of his support throughout the years.

Crespi has held annual fundraisers for PHWFF and rallied citizens of Parker, Colo. to reach goals of tens of thousands of dollars.

According to FOX31, ask anyone in Parker and they’ll tell you: When it comes to generosity, Crespi is always the first to help.

“Whenever there’s a need in our community, whenever tragedy hits or there’s some need, Wes is right there and his customers are right there too,” said Jeff Toborg, Parker’s mayor to FOX31.

PHWFF would also like to thank Kriste Crespi, and Charles Reilly of Ponderosa Petroleum for providing the location for the fundraiser.

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