Volunteer Matt Seymour of the Coatesville, PA Program checks with an update on this great program in our Pennsylvania Region below:
Last evening about 60 vets, their families and our volunteers came together to party! We’ve had this “Old Home Night” celebration the last 3-4 years. It’s special.
The event’s secret ingredient is the return of our former Coatesville comrades and their families. Josh & Natalie, Russ, Scottie & Patty, Zach & Linz, Joe & Linsey, Jason & Chaunte came back to remind our current CVAMC vets there is life after Coatesville. Some came from a great distance to be with us. We also send a grateful shout out to Matt Romano who provided photos!
The evening started with introductions, the spreading of the larder, grilling and a fly casting competition led by a score of volunteers under the able direction of Jim Dowd. Matt Grey, Ray Horwitz, Matt Marran, Gil Detweiller, Ken Leung, John Dettrey & Mike Ferraro prepped the contestants. The contestants, a few of whom were complete novices, scored quality PHWFF & Valley Forge Trout Unlimited swag!
We added a “Name that PA Fish Contest.” There were three perfect (14 out of 14) scores. Suspicious?
Bob “Smokey” Klinger, Heath Jones and Pam Seymour grilled dozens of BBQ wings, 6.5 lbs of beef & pork Triple Cities Spiedies, 16 Italian sausages, 16 frankfurters, and 20 hamburgers. At the end of the evening only 1 hamburger, a skewer of pork spiedies and 2 lonely franks survived!
Add to that a mountain of homemade salads, side and desserts and its a wonder anyone had the energy to go fishing at twilight on Hibernia Lake. But They did.
Special thanks to Mary Clark, Joan Penry, Maria Ciliberto, Jiji Nawalinski, Jim Clark and Karen DelRaso for getting the serving line squared away and providing the delicacies.
Bottom line: all this activity is directed towards healing hearts. Are these activities some magic medicine? Nope. But they do provide a few gifts for the vets and for us volunteers:
- Camaraderie. We’re in this together. We all got problems. We are all in some ways disabled. Its good to know we have that in common. Occasionally, after a spell, if there’s trust, we may have the courage to lay open a wound. It happens at PHW.
- Community. Quite similar to to camaraderie but with this extension: whenever we’re apart we can – with a phone call, a text, or an email be there for each other. Mostly just to listen.
- Mindfulness. The mind can’t dwell on two things at the same time. If you’re building a fly rod, tying a fly, or casting a fly into a deep bend in the river – chances are you’re not thinking about your car payments. The ability to engineer these brief respites help return us to a more hopeful perspective. We create. We re-create.
And that’s why we celebrate when we’re together! We celebrate each other, we renew connections, we rest.
But we have lots of work to do. About 15 friends who spent time with us at Coatesville indicated they would be with us but didn’t come. Life outside of Coatesville is fraught with obstacles to recovery. Like the rest of us there is a Yin and Yan to life. We will, with your help, never stop trying to reach our friends who have gone home.
- We’ll be tying in the Main Dining Hall on Tuesday from 11-1 PM.
- Regular Wednesday night Fly Tying Meeting in Blg. 5, ground floor, 6-8PM.
Don’t be shy. We can always use willing hearts & hands,