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Phil Johnson Exceptional Leadership Award

THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF PROJECT HEALING Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) takes great pleasure in presenting the Phil Johnson Exceptional Leadership Award to Carl Smolka for his dedicated and inspiring service to the National Capital Region’s participants and volunteers from 2009 to 2018.

Carl’s volunteer service to PHWFF began in 2009 as a volunteer in the newly-formed PHWFF Program at Fort Meade, Maryland. He stepped forward to help establish and lead the Program. Over the years since volunteering for this position, Carl demonstrated a passionate commitment to the Program’s participants through his attendance at over 450 of its regular meetings and hundreds of its outings and activities. During this nine-year period of Carl’s dedicated volunteer service and leadership, the senior leadership at Fort Meade recognized the him and the Program for providing extraordinary weekly service and support to more than 500 of its wounded, ill, and injured active duty military personnel.

But that’s only part of his volunteer service and leader- ship story. Nearly five years ago, Carl – a master fly-tying and rod building instructor – agreed to train volunteers in fly-tying and rod building instruction. He also agreed to teach fly-tying and rod building classes to participants at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center PHWFF Program in Bethesda, Maryland. Since then, Carl led nearly 300 fly-tying and rod building instruction classes for participants as well as instructor training clinics for volunteers. The additional fly fishing skills that the volunteers gained though his expert instruction enabled enhanced program delivery for our participants.

Carl’s outstanding communications skills enabled him to rapidly advance the fly-tying and rod building skills for participants and our volunteers alike. His impressive ability to gain their trust and to build strong relationships provided effective teaching and instructing abilities to both programs. His selflessness serves as an exemplar to a culture of giving back to our nation’s disabled veterans and its wounded, ill, and injured servicemen and servicewomen. His effort ensured that the Project Healing Waters’ Fort Meade Program events and outings represent a complete community effort to support our noble cause.

The Board of Trustees of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. is proud to bestow upon Carl Smolka the Phil Johnson Exceptional Leadership Award for his tireless and extraordinary service to our organization and to those wounded, ill, and injured servicemen and servicewomen and disabled veterans whom this organization serves.