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Trip Leader Phil Landry ( recounts a very special few days on Arkansas’s famed Little Red River below:

Monday June 11th:  Seven Project Healing Waters all-stars flew into Little Rock, Arkansas to begin a trip that none will soon forget.  Chris Benson (Colorado Springs, CO Program) , Red Pierce (Colorado Springs, CO Program),  Fran Morano (Syracuse, NY Program), Vicki Bissette (Lewiston, ME Program), Stan Moore (Parkersburg, WV Program), Mike Hobbs (Colorado Springs, CO Program), and Clifford Lang (Burlington, VT Program) all made it to the fun after an hour and twenty minute ride from the airport to The Cabins @ Lobo Landing Resort on the Little Red River.  After settling in, shaking off the travel, and gorging on some local BBQ, we all gathered around for some fly tying in one of our two cabins.

Volunteer Josh Fleeger (Memphis VAMC Program Lead) helped us in numerous logistical ways to help the participants have a smooth, and relaxing experience.  The Cabins At Lobo Landing gave us all front porch views of the river and very comfortable living arrangements for the duration of the trip.  Beau & Renee Saunders and Brannon Ball were very gracious hosts at the resort.  Every morning our group would gather down on the marina for breakfast and the beginning of that days adventures.

Professional guides, David Hudson, Beau Saunders,  Brannon Ball, and Phil Landry provided their watercraft, and guiding expertise on the Little Red to keep rods bending and faces smiling.  Hundreds of fish were caught during the three days.  The Little Red’s bigger fish did not come out to play during our fishing hours, but a few monster browns were seen by several people.  Temperatures, humidity, and the barometer were all high, but a lot of water, mid day breaks, and persistence all paid off.

The successes of this trip were not purely measured on fishing results though.  The friendships formed and the shared experiences far outweigh the statistics or fishing techniques learned.

To say “a great time was had by all” doesn’t do this justice.  All the guides, volunteers, participants and our hosts were continually laughing, sometimes at each other’s expense!  Some truly wonderful bonds were created amongst all of us and we were all sad to part ways on Friday.

A huge thanks to everyone who participated, volunteered, guided, donated etc.  You all contributed to making this the unique experience and success that is was.