New England Programs Get Their Feet Wet

Kendra Cousineau

On June 2 and again on June 10, the Newington, CT PHWFF Program conducted fishing outings for nine veterans on the pristine waters of the Shepaug River within the Steep Rock Land Preserve in Washington Depot, CT.  Also participating in the events were eight volunteers from the Newington program.  Acting as host and also assisting both days were volunteers from the Washington Rod & Gun Club who graciously helped with the day’s events.

These were the third and fourth outings held for the veteran participants as Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc continues its Phase 3 engagement plan rollout.

“The setting for these events was spectacular along a rural, pristine stretch of the Shepaug River, which, due to its location within the Steep Rock Land Preserve, experiences limited fishing activity,” Assistant Program Lead John Ferrantino said.

The veterans, guided by volunteers from the Washington Rod and Gun Club, experienced a relaxing and fulfilling day fishing, sharing stories, and probably wildly exaggerating the size of the ones that “got away”.

Outings such as these allow these vets to forget or cope with their individual challenges, if even for a few hours.  The time that is spent in the water shaking a stick is an escape. The wind they heard when they sit on the river bank, the fawn that joined us for lunch, and the views seen along the way all provide a needed diversion.

Newington, CT Assistant Program Lead John Ferrantino

“It was great to meet face-to-face once again with our veteran participants after a prolonged period due to the pandemic.,” Ferrantino said. “This was a truly ‘healing’ event for not only the veterans, but also the volunteers that support the program.  We are looking forward to Phase 4 and 5.”

Ferrantino mentioned that there were several highlights, but mostly it was just witnessing how much the veterans enjoyed and appreciated getting out once again with their brothers and sisters and catching some beautiful fish.

Ferrantino would like to thank the Washington Rod and Gun Club for hosting the events and the board from the Steep Rock Land Preserve for allowing them on the land. ,

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