The Long Beach Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing program at least annually drives five hours north to the small town of Bishop, CA, in the Eastern Sierras to fish the Owens River and other local waters. Because this is such a long drive, we stay in a hotel there and must eat meals in restaurants. That changed when we met Olga Rojas in July, 2009.
In 2009, she fed us in the backyard of her home. Her friends lined the streets, waving American flags as we approached her home, and served us more food than we could possibly eat. During every outing since 2009, she has fed us herself or arranged meals for us at the VFW, Elks Club, or Pizza 395. Whether it’s Mexican, spaghetti, barbecue or pizza, the food is secondary to the patriotism of the locals and their support for our nation’s veterans. Each one of the meals Olga arranges for us saves us about $300, or $1200 per trip, and more than $9000 total so far. Olga is ever-present, always smiling, so caring. The vets and volunteers absolutely love her and have delivered many touching thank you messages and gifts to her over the years, including their Purple Hearts, unit pins, etc.
Olga lost two brothers to the Vietnam War and many family members have served. In their memory she continuously supports veterans’ causes. She is on the VFW Auxiliary and organizes dinners to benefit the VFW. She supports homeless veterans in Bishop and is part of Quilts of Valor that makes quilts for veterans. She is participating in events to raise money for a Wounded Warrior Center being built an hour away in Mammoth Lakes, CA by climbing Mt. Whitney, running a half marathon in San Diego, helping with a summer music festival and more.
And, Olga is a member of the Eastern Sierra Breast Cancer to mentor cancer patients. She herself has been fighting recurrent breast cancer for three years, and, as if that isn’t enough, she has had multiple sclerosis for many years. Despite all this, she works tirelessly to support and care for others.
One of the veterans in our program said “Everything Olga does is for someone else. She is selfless.” Everyone who knows Olga says “She is amazing!” She is. She’s also a Patriot. We are honored to have her as our friend.
We are so pleased to be able to bestow on Olga Rojas the Patriot Award for her tireless and extraordinary service to Project Healing Waters and to those wounded warriors and disabled veterans whom this organization serves.