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Phil Johnson Exceptional Leadership Award

We are honored to recognize the Valley Forge Chapter of Trout Unlimited (VFTU) for their tireless and extraordinary service to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Inc. (PHWFF) and to those wounded, ill, and injured active duty and disabled veterans whom our organization serves.

On Thursday January 11, 2018¬† President and CEO Todd Desgrosseilliers¬†presented VFTU with the PHWFF Chapter Excellence Award during their regular meeting.¬†¬†The Chapter currently sponsors 3 PHWFF Programs —¬†Coatesville, Royersford and West Bradford, Pennsylvania – with each honorably serving injured and disabled veterans in their communities.

It all began in 2012, when several VFTU Chapter members began discussions with the PHWFF Headquarters to sponsor a program at the Coatesville VA Medical Center (VAMC).  Following shortly thereafter, the VFTU Chapter signed the Memorandum of Agreement with PHWFF to formally establish a program at the Coatesvile VAMC and programs began in earnest in April 2013.  Initially meeting every-other-week, the meeting schedule soon expanded due to the program’s popularity with the disabled veterans at the Coatesville VAMC.  As the program’s participants remained primarily in-patient disabled veterans, this expanded schedule allowed for more consistent and regular interaction with participants and VAMC staff.

In the spring of 2014, the VFTU Chapter’s core group of about 15 volunteers began considering starting a second program to connect with those disabled veterans who go to Coatesville VAMC for out-patient medical services.  Once the volunteers achieved a consensus, the VFTU Chapter agreed to sponsor a second PHWFF program (West Bradford) in the Downingtown, Pennsylvania area.  That program began in October 2014 with the support of the VFTU Chapter and with many of the core group of volunteers covering both programs.  The VFTU Chapter recruited additional volunteers from the local fly fishing community for both programs through VFTU Chapter meetings, posters, e-mails, and support from several local fly shops.  In June 2017, the VFTU Chapter agreed to sponsor a third program in Royersford, Pennsylvania to further their contributions to the local veterans community.

All VFTU Chapter-sponsored PHWFF Programs include fly tying, fly fishing education, and outings.  Fly rod building occurs at the PHWFF West Bradford Program and the PHWFF Royersford Program.  Throughout this period, the VFTU Chapter supported all three programs with space for information and fundraising activities at their annual Trout Show.  During this time, the programs have brought our unique brand of healing to increasing numbers of wounded, ill, and injured active duty and disabled veterans in their communities.

As such, it is our honor to bestow on the Valley Forge Trout Unlimited Chapter the Chapter Excellence Award for their tireless and extraordinary service to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Inc. and to those wounded, ill, and injured active duty and disabled veterans whom our organization serves.