About a dozen years ago Navy veteran Ed Nicholson was in Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, for cancer treatment when he saw the young people around him severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
From then on, Nicholson had an idea.
“I am going to go out and fish. I bet some of these guys would like to join me,” he said.
That was the beginning of “Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing,” an organization that teaches the sport to wounded veterans. Now with more than 200 chapters, Healing Waters has built of community of support for wounded warriors.
Retired Staff Sergeant Robert Bartlett lost half of his face and one eye to an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Iraq. He finds a special serenity in fly fishing.
“You just get a chance to reset and just not think about the future, not think about the past, but just fish for a bit.”
David Folkerts, now the chief operating officer for Healing Waters, first discovered the program while recovering from an IED blast himself