McGuire STAR VA Program Gets Veterans Hooked on Fishing

Kendra Cousineau

The McGuire STAR Program had its first outing of 2021 on July 20 at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, Virginia.  

It was a fly casting instruction and fishing outing for three patients at the Servicemembers Transition Advanced Therapy (STAR) Unit at the Central Virginia Veterans Hospital in Richmond, VA.

The program would like to extend a special thanks to the new Recreational Therapist assigned to the Unit – Andrea Cooper – and to the VA Division of Wildlife Resources that provided permits for the patients to fish without requiring licenses. 

The program fished the Swift Creek River area of the Park on a hot, humid late afternoon and had a great time introducing all three of their guys and their RT to Project Healing Waters.

Nate, Warsaw, and Bob all expressed their thanks and their enthusiasm for fly fishing. All of them indicated they would like to go fishing again! We had little luck but a great time.  There was a lot of fishing, but little catching.

Program Lead Andy Cox

Andrea, the recreational therapist, turned out to be a pretty good caster on her first try. Although the program scheduled a follow up outing, the VA locked down the hospital for a four week period, meaning all three of the participants will be discharged before they could can meet again. Andy and the PHWFF program looks forward to helping more service members that cycle through the STAR Unit as inpatients for a two-to-three month period. The program will forward the names and contact information of Nate, Warsaw and Bob to the Project Healing Waters Programs in the location where they will be living after leaving Richmond. Andy would like to thank volunteers Andre Holcomb – APL, and Jon Arnold and Jerry Davis.

From left to right: – Jerry Davis, Warsaw, Jon Arnold, Nate, Bob, Andrea, and Andre Holcomb

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