Project Healing Waters, Brigadoon Georgia.

John Hicks

Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits
Met up with Jason Baker, ex-pat from this board last Wednesday. We went down to Brigadoon lodge on the Soque (so-quee). The event was for Project Healing Waters. P.H.W. is a non-profit that takes wounded veterans out on the water fishing. The whole thing was held at the famed Brigadoon lodge on the Soque river in upstate Georgia. The lodge is owned by Rebekah Stewart. The water that she has is second to none and stocked full of very large trout. Rebekah donated the use of the lodge for three days to P.H.W. for the event. I had such a fun time taking these guys out fishing, I almost forgot that we were on a very exclusive stretch of water. Rebekah has had some very famous people fish her property. Some of which you can see pictures of all over her lodge. Jimmy Carter fishes her lodge every year. It isn't odd to see Ted Turner casting in her pools.

The whole event was a once in a lifetime chance to take wounded veterans out fishing. These guys were amazing. I learned much more from them in the three days than they ever will from me. Overall the event went off great and I became friends with some pretty cool guys. Here are some picures from the event. I hope you guys enjoy them and think about giving some time to this worthy cause.

The inside of the main lodge is amazing and I hope to bring my wife there some time in the future.

Jason Baker giving a new vest to Josh, one of the veterans attending.

The first morning of fishing it was about 30 degrees out, but it was great to see some of the wives joining in.

Jamie, one of the veterans fishing the whole in front of the lodge. For a guy that grew up fishing gear in the salt, he really can get it done.

One of Jamie's many fish he landed during the event.

Bob another veteran getting a little help from Jason on fish fighting techniques.

The look on Bob's face is priceless. He really enjoyed himself and that is what it's all about right?

David Folkerts, program manager for Project Healing Waters with a nice palomino trout. Jason Baker who does some guiding for the lodge said that Rebekah does not stock these trout. It must have come up from another section of the river.

Josh and Jamie fishing in front of the lodge. For a couple of amputes these guys can fish better than most able bodied guys I know.

Josh was a true inspiration to me. He can roll cast very well. His attitude is just infectious. He takes everything is stride.

Jason Baker helping Josh to land one of the many trout he hooked during the event.

Even us guides got some time to fish. Here is Jason with one of his large rainbows. Bob got to play net man for Jason and I.

Release shot.

After spending a couple days running up and down the river netting fish tying on flies and having fun this guy was a bit of a let down...... who am I kidding, I had a blast with this fish and he really put a bend in my 5wt.

I had such a fun time and hope to get the chance to do it again. It is very rewarding to do something for these guys. My hat goes off to Rebekah for donating the use of the lodge and the private water. To Jason Baker who made it all happen. And to the wives who helped out and help out in any way they can.
Thanks for the post, that was obviously a top drawer event. You don't have to go to Georgia to participate, though. One of the guys in our South Sound Fly Fishers club here in Olympia is active in Project Healing Waters.

Chuck Tye has organized numerous activities for the vets at the Warrior Transition unit at Ft Lewis. Some of our guys have gone out and helped vets learn to tie flies, cast, and fish.

Anything you can contribute for these folks as far as time, equipment, access to fishing, etc. will be appreciated, and provide a greater benefit for the veterans than you might believe. As a Viet Nam vet who returned in 1969, and DIDN'T have access to positive outreach programs like this, I can assure you that you can help these vets at a very crucial time in their readjustment.

Chuck Tye
Northwest Regional Director
360. 915.9438

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
I'm an active volunteer with PHW. I'm one of the few who volunteers when I'm able. Hours kind of make it hard. I started before it was taken over by PHW. I'm not one of the first, but a guy named Larry Clemmons has done a ton for it, when it was at Madigan at the Occupational Therapy unit (where I first started). Then PHW picked it up, and moved it to the WTB. We're teaching flycasting, flytying, and starting this weekend rod building (I'm hoping to make that one). Chuck Tye and Larry Clemmons are great guys. We've done a few fishing trips, including some photos and vids I need to upload and send back to them. We've been on the little Deschutes and a very successful fishing trip or two at Trophy Lake.

Not to squash Freedon, but before you donate, please talk to Chuck or Larry about what you want to donate. It's greatly appreciated, but some of the stuff we've recieved hasn't been of great quality (or was old stuff that had been sitting in a box too long). We've spent alot of time sorting through the stuff.

And to comment more on Freedon's. Yes, it's helped so much taking these guys out, and teaching them to tie and fish. The smiles and comments are priceless. We hooked a soldier into a steelhead sized trout, and the smile just was to die for. Made standing out in the cold worth every second of it. I'm so glad I got involved with this organization, and can't wait to continue on.

Lastly, I do believe (and you can contact Chuck on this one for verification) that ANY vet is welcome at the WTB. I do believe it doesn't have to be active duty. Can be a vet like Freedon from Viet Nam era who needs some soul searching.

I think I've got the greatest enjoyment just seeing the smiles on these guys faces either after they've done their first fly, or hooked their first fish. Saying it's a great program is an understatement.

Now, if I can only get a group outing down on a steelhead river I'll be happy. LOL

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
BTW, we meet every thursday at 1300 at the Warrior Transistion Unit. You have to be able to get on base (can sometimes setup a ride on if you know someone with a pass). Usually runs til 1800, depending on amount of guys that show.
Hicks, thanks for posting that, looks like a great gig for everyone involved.
good to see JB is still taking care of business like usual! too bad he's not around
here anymore.