Coatesville VAMC Program is Back!

Kendra Cousineau

On July 19, 2021 PHWFF resumed indoor core program activities and further expanded outdoor healing gatherings for all PHWFF programs Nationwide.

The Coatesville VAMC program was probably most excited for this news.

On July 21, the Coatesville VAMC program held their first casting clinic for two participants that have been tying flies virtually with the program for two months prior.

Volunteer Matthew Seymour said both participants casted amazingly and wanted to give a huge “thank you” to Jennifer Lilly and her voluntary services crew for the preparations that made the homecoming successful!

Michael L. Hamill, a videographer working from the VA was able to capture some of the first moments these veterans have ever even held a fly rod.

This is our first outside activity since the pandemic started. This is a milestone for us.

coatesville vamc program lead Ken Vangilder

“Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing hosted a casting clinic with a couple of Veterans that have been learning to tie flies virtually for a while. The PHWFF volunteers weren’t going to be stopped by physical restrictions. They worked out how to teach fly tying virtually and were doing it for more than 18 months. Thank you volunteers for keeping it going for the Veterans,” the Coatesville VA Medical Center wrote on Facebook.

In the program’s second week back at VAMC on July 28, they hosted lots of personalized fly tying and some casting instruction. Some food was provided including Philly pretzels, Clark’s venison sausage, soft drinks and water.

“A great night under the big top,” Seymour exclaimed. “We had four veterans join us this week after two in our first week. Amazed how quickly these vets pick up casting and tying!”

On August 4, the program held their third week in a row of casting clinics and fly tying! Seymour would like to extend the “thank you’s” to the support they are getting from Voluntary Services, Rec Therapists and the Veterans themselves.

“We’ve added two vets each week as guests! Six joined us last evening for fly casting, fly tying and pizza! We volunteers are collectively astonished at how quickly the vets are picking up on tying flies and casting a fly rod. We had a blast!”

For more information on how you can become a participant and join in on the fun please visit https://projecthealingwaters.org/disabled-military-veterans/

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