Each year our Regions recognize a veteran participant who has caught the PHWFF vision and made it their own. We are pleased to announce that Aaron Heusinkveld has been recognized as the 2016 Participant of the Year in the Midwest Region.
Aaron has been participating in Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing for three years. Following his two month PTSD therapy programs at the St. Cloud VMAC Aaron continued attending the weekly meetings since he lives in the St. Cloud area, as his skills increased Aaron took on a more active role in assisting the new veterans that were joining the program. For the past two years Aaron has been in charge of the beginners’ station for first time participants. This includes instruction in the use of basic fly tying tools and the completion of their first wooly bugger.
Aaron shows extreme patience and instruction to the new participants, always encouraging and supportive. Having come up through the program he serves as an example that fly-tying is not so daunting and something they can enjoy. It’s a positive aspect of the PHWFF programs that participants give back to other vets and Aaron is a prime example of this. Aaron has continued to gain experience in fly-tying and fly fishing, he participated in a national trip this summer which opened new possibilities. This lead to Aaron to begin VETERANSVIEW4U dedicated to fly-tying on Facebook and You Tube, along with being the administrator of the Facebook page for the St. Cloud VMA. In addition Aaron is the Secretary of the St. Cloud Fly Anglers (the sponsoring organization for the St. Cloud VMA), and the Commander of Post 4847 St. Cloud.