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On February 25, 2022, the Harrisburg East Project Healing Waters Program held their annual “2022 Fly Jam” at Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works in Middletown, Pennsylvania.

Tattered Flag Brewery is a veteran owned-and-operated brewery located in Central PA. The Fly Jam is an event that the program holds to act as a drive for flies for the veteran participants to use as well as public awareness.

Members of the community can participate in the events if they bring a box of a dozen flies to donate. This includes a couple of fun fly tying competitions as well as other games they can play for prizes. They also get to spend an evening with veterans of the Harrisburg East Program and learn about the mission of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc.

It is a time to educate the community about the mission of the PHWFF organization, highlighting the efforts of the volunteers, and the hours spent gainfully teaching the therapeutic values of fly Tying, rod building and fly casting. Along with the event itself, the Harrisburg East PHWFF uses the time to also celebrate the past year of fellowship with annual recognition to the Volunteer of the Year, Participant of the Year, and we top it off with an end of year dinner.

phwff harrisburg program lead glenn klinger

The public attendance at the event was sparse, however the participants of the Harrisburg East PHWFF showed in force; and fully enjoyed the fellowship of the evening talking about exploits of fly fishing during the 2021 and 2022 years,” Klinger said. “During the evening we decided to move from the events that were on the itinerary and provide an ‘Iron Fly’ competition to the participants that chose to tie flies.”

The “Iron Fly” competition is timed for a 30-minute iteration and participants could choose various materials to tie a fly. These flies were then judged by a panel and a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner was selected and awarded donated swag from TCO Fly Shop Boiling Springs, Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works, and prints from the artist Zeb Love.

First Place Fly Jam Winner Mike Gainer

Because of the pandemic, PHWFF Harrisburg recognized both 2020 and 2021 participant and volunteer of the year awards once they were able to gather again for Fly Jam.

For 2020, participant Jonathan Rice won the Participant of the Year award, and Nathan Wisniewski won the 2020 Volunteer of the Year award.

Mike Gainer took home the Participant of the Year award for 2021, and Tim Bowersox received the Volunteer of the Year award.

Winners of the “Iron Fly” competition included Mike Gainer for 1st place, second place was taken home by Colton Jones, and Scott Arentz received the third place prize.

The combination of the Fly Jam, the end of year dinner party, and the awards presentation has become a yearly tradition of the Harrisburg East PHWFF.

“We were not able to hold this kind of event during the past two years and we are grateful for the participation of the veterans and volunteers that showed up,” Klinger said.

“Although we use the moment to fill our fly boxes to support our veterans in the following year, the moment to spend time with other veterans is at the core of the program.”

The veteran participants and volunteers all had a wonderful evening, and truly celebrated the comradery they all share.

Klinger would like to thank Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works, TCO Fly Shop, and Zeb Love.

“We look forward to the fishing the flies provided by the event in the 2022 year with the veterans of the Harrisburg East Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. We thank all those that participated in the evening’s events!”

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