Volunteer Matt Seymour of the PHWFF Coatesville VAMC Program shares a winter update from this great program in our Pennsylvania Region
Seven of our favorite vets and 13 volunteers braved the icy winds to build fly rods and tie flies. Maria, Jim, Chuck, Ed, Ted, Chris, Paddy, Mike and I continue to tie with the vets while Charlie, Jack, and Ken L worked with the three vets who have committed to making rods. It’s hard to describe the enthusiasm and camaraderie that bubbles in a room filled with vets and volunteers into fly fishing! No way we’re staying in on a cold night and miss it!
One of the paradoxes we encounter our feelings when one of our vets devoted to fly-fishing is goes home. Of course we support them as they return home, but we miss each of them and the spice they add to the Project Healing Waters soup. We do our best after our vets leave to stay in touch. It’s not always easy, but PHWFF always tries to link our “graduates” up with another Program if its possible.
Today I had the pleasure of visiting a PHW Coatesville graduate in his home near Harrisburg. Dave and I spent most of the time catching up on how life was going for each of us and of course … tying flies! Dave left CVAMC over a year ago and is not only making progress on establishing a community of support (including the Lancaster PHWFF Program) but also has been on the water frequently to fish for steelhead, bass and trout!
Our mission doesn’t stop in Coatesville. A number of these vets remain friends after they leave. Some in turn attend and eventually volunteer other Project Healing Waters programs and Trout Unlimited chapters.
That little (#10 scud hook) red & blue fly is his creation. A few weeks ago he caught an Erie steelhead on a PHWFF outing with it. Check out the hackle and you can guess why Dave calls it the “Cookie Monster”!