On April 18, Joint Base Elmendorf and Ft. Richardson (JBER) honored Frank Stevens for his service as the longstanding Tying Coordinator with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Anchorage. His commitment to supporting the area’s disabled active military and disabled veterans was recognized with receipt of both the “Presidential Volunteer Gold Award” for volunteering more than 500 hours during the year and the Volunteer Excellence Award for outstanding community service of a sustained and consequential nature.
Each week since 2011, Frank has planned tying sessions, ensured inventories of equipment and supplies, and organized the Project’s vast array of tying materials. To do this he brings his exceptional knowledge of tying technique to the suite of Alaska flies participants will learn and ultimately venture out and use as they take advantage of the State’s vast grayling, rainbow, and salmon fly fishing opportunities. Each week he brings the community’s skilled fly tiers in as volunteers as well as mentoring participants interested in joining the next generation of instructors. Thus, participants enjoy an exceptional learning opportunity as Frank takes them through a gradual, organized, sequential process of learning tying skills that will serve them for life. Every week, he comes early and stays later; if special materials are needed for the “must have” fly, he goes out of his way to secure them.
On top of his weekly contribution of time and skill to the tying clinic, Frank is always quick to volunteer to staff numerous information fairs for PHWFF, assist with the rod-building classes, or take those flies and rods and lead PHWFF fishing trips out into Alaska’s great fishing waters. The Anchorage program has grown substantially during the past year, and Frank has been there to help fill in gaps without request or hesitation—he has the heart of a true volunteer.