Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc (PHWFF) takes great pleasure in presenting the Phil Johnson Exceptional Leadership Award to Joe Holmes for his dedicated and inspiring service to our organization from 2017 to 2021. During this period, his selfless efforts and extreme generosity of time and talents as Program Lead for the PHWFF Fredericksburg Program in Fredericksburg, Virginia, led to the Program’s continuing success.
Joe began volunteering as Assistant Program Lead in 2017 when he began leading the PHWFF Fredericksburg Program’s fly-tying activities. Joe obtained and organized the equipment, assembled a team of beginning and advanced fly tying volunteers, and led the Program’s fly tying and training effort. His generous and caring nature encouraged many participants to join him at the bench and then onto the water with their newly tied flies in hand. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe created and led the Program’s virtual fly tying sessions. These sessions steadily grew in in popularity throughout 2020 – attracting budding fly tyers and seasoned anglers alike. Joe’s talented presentations often attracted as many as 250 fly tyers on those special Tuesday evenings to learn and then comment on his presentations – a wonderful PHWFF face to the broader PHWFF and fly fishing community.
A dynamic and hands-on leader, Joe coordinated the PHWFF Fredericksburg Program’s multiple day and overnight outings in 2019 and in 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Program Lead, Joe oversaw all other PHWFF Fredericksburg Program activities including recruiting and engaging new volunteers and participants from the greater Fredericksburg area. Despite the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Joe’s exceptional leadership ensured that the Program continued to grow – adding 66 new Participants and Volunteers from the beginning of 2019 through the end of 2020. His efforts positioned the Program to provide greater impact on the disabled Veteran community as our nation and our organization emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, in early 2020, Joe used his extensive expertise, gained as a United States Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance, & Escape Instructor, to create and implement a Wilderness First Aid Guide for the Program’s Volunteers. The Virginia Region subsequently presented this training to all the Volunteer Leaders in the PHWFF Virginia Region at its annual training seminar. This training enabled additional risk management procedures for the Region’s 12 Programs and highlighted the necessity for effective first aid training for its Volunteers.
Joe’s commitment to our Cause inspired all Volunteers and Participants involved in the Program to become a stronger team and build better friendships. All who know him will attest to the positive impact the Program made on their lives and the role model of selfless devotion, mentoring, and leadership he provided to them.
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. is proud to bestow upon Joe Holmes the Phil Johnson Exceptional Leadership Award for his tireless and extraordinary service to our Organization and to those wounded, ill, and injured Servicemen, Servicewomen, and disabled Veterans whom this organization serves.