Our friend, SPC (ret) Aaron Heusinkveld and the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, St. Cloud, Minnesota Program has been hosting virtual fly tying classes for PHWFF participants on Heusinkveld’s YouTube Channel, All Tied Up Fly Tying School. This past week brought a special Halloween themed class. Filmed live from Heusinkveld’s fly tying bench he walks you through creating a Dracula, Ghost, Cyclops, and ‘Franken’-popper.
Aaron has been participating in Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing for over four years with the St. Cloud VAMC Program. As his skills increased, Aaron took on a more active role of volunteering to assist the new veterans joining the program. For the past two years he 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 with the new participants, always being encouraging and supportive. His great efforts were recognized in 2016 with Aaron receiving the Midwest Region Participant of the Year award from PHWFF. Having come up through the program he serves as an example that fly-tying is not so daunting and something that all 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 fully believes in giving back to the community. He is a 2-time past Post Commander at his local VFW, is currently the Exalted Ruler with his local Elks Lodge, Editor for the St. Cloud Fly Anglers Club, created the “All Tied Up Fly Fishing School” to offer fly tying lessons to the community at large, and remains very active with his local PHWFF Program. of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing.