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A special ceremony took place during the Saturday night dinner of the 12th Annual PHWFF 2-Fly Tournament.  Chairman Bob Fitch presented longtime supporter Jim Ottevaere with our highest and most prestigious award, The Patriot Award.  We’re pleased to share the full-citation with you below:

The Board of Trustees of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) takes great pleasure in presenting the Patriot Award to Jim Ottevaere, for his exceptional support and dedication to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing since 2010.

Through his commitment to the PHWFF mission, vision, and core values, Jim elevated Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing’s impact across the nation.  As a true patriot, Jim recognized the positive impact that its programs provide to all disabled veterans.  As a volunteer, Jim selflessly committed his time, his resources, and his influence to enable Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. to recruit additional participants and to provide the resources to support them – thereby helping to create a community where our nation’s disabled veterans can heal.

Jim began as a volunteer in both the Fort Belvoir and the Quantico PHWFF Programs when he moved to Virginia from Michigan in 2010.  From 2010 to 2013, Jim’s influence and impact steadily increased and in 2013 PHWFF recognized him as Volunteer of the Year for the National Capital Region.  Besides fly fishing skills, Jim also taught leather working and salmon fly tying to PHWFF participants.  Additionally, each year Jim hosts two PHWFF participants for an entire week at his cabin on the Manistee River in Michigan. In addition to his time, Jim also secures substantial donations each year to help fund the Fort Belvoir and the Quantico PHWFF Programs.

Besides the contributions to PHWFF, Jim is also recognized as one of the founders of Bamboo Bend in Grayling, Michigan – a nine-day bamboo fly rod building course taught by a crew of highly skilled volunteers.  Jim co-founded the course 2012. Since then, his dedicated effort resulted in 44 participants from across the nation traveling to Grayling, Michigan to learn the art and science of bamboo fly rod building.  During their time in Grayling the participants also enjoy two days of guided fly fishing on the Au Sable or Manistee Rivers.  Jim’s personal commitment to our cause provides all expenses for the bamboo fly rod building course and the fly fishing – including food, lodging, equipment, fly rod building instructors, fly fishing guides, and transportation.  After a rigorous week of instruction, each participant departs Grayling with a hand-made bamboo fly rod along and a hand-made net that they created themselves.

The Board of Trustees of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. is proud to bestow on Jim Ottevaere the Patriot Award for his tireless and extraordinary service to our organization and to those wounded, ill, and injured servicemen and servicewomen and disabled veterans whom this organization serves.