May 15 to 17, 2012
Guilford Foundation funded a successful trip to Susie Q Farm
Broadway, VA–Ten disabled warriors and vets got to fly fish the
private trout stream on the Susie Q Farm. The fishery is managed by
Brain and Colby Trow of Mossy Creek Fly Fishing.
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) participants came from the
Beckley and Huntington, West Virginia programs, as well as Salem,
Richmond’s Hunter-McGuire VAMC, Hampton VAMC, and Fort Eustis, Warrior
Transition Unit in Virginia. Participants were supported by volunteer
guides for the two days of fly fishing on the farm.
For a few warriors and vets this was the first time they ever fly
fished on a moving water trout stream. To a man all were able to net
rainbow trout and all fish were released.
One of the major highlights of the trip was provided by the Guilford
Foundation which for the last four years has provided the funds to
totally equip each participant with top quality fly fishing gear. Each
received a 9ft, 5wt fly rod package, waders, rain jacket, sling pack,
and a box of files.
The Village Inn in Harrisonburg, VA hosted the group with great
accommodations and home-style meals. No one went away from the table
In the evenings, the Inn opened its meeting room where many of the
guides and participants tied flies and enjoyed talking about fly
fishing in general.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Grace, owners of Susie Q Farm, are long-time
supporters of PHWFF and frequently host groups of participants from
the Virginias and National Capitol Regions of Project Healing Waters.
Phil Johnson, PHWFF Regional Coordinator for the Virginias, presented
the Graces with a Certificate of Appreciation for all they have done
for Project Healing Waters.
There was outstanding weather in as much as all around the Shenandoah
area there was heavy rain and wind. Most of the streams in the area
were out of their banks but Susie Q had ideal water conditions.
Everyone had a great time and many new fly fishers are now hooked.
A special thanks to Brian and Colby Trow of Mossy Creek Fly Fishing
who worked very hard in getting the stream banks and pools all marked
for the guides. They also they provided up-to-date information on what
flies were working and just how we should fish the water.
Regional Coordinator VA and WV
PHWFF Thanks the Chesapeake
Phil Johnson, Regional Coordinator,
Virginias Region presents a Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing
Certificate of Appreciation to Dominions’ Chesapeake Energy Center
employee’s for the outstanding support and hospitality given to the
Warriors and Veterans for the last two years.
Accepting the certificate on behalf of
Dominion is Kenneth Lazzaro, Station Director
The Warriors and Veterans have enjoyed the
experience of fly fishing for large sea trout and drum at the famous
Dominion is a very strong supporter of the
PHWFF programs in all of their service area.
Annual Banquet PHW awards
Dan Genest received the 2011 PHW
Regional Volunteer of the year for the Virginia's Region ( VA and WV).
Temple Fork Outfitters is the sponsor
of this award program and provides each winner a TFO BVK rod with the
winner's name on the rod.
Having supported PHW for the 6 last years, Dan is much deserving of
David Hall received the 2011 PHW
Regional Participant of the year for the Virginia's Region ( VA and WV).
David was awarded an Orvis Access rod and
Recovering Warrior’s Escatawba Trip Report
6-8 June 2011
Departed Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) 1100 hrs. to pick up
Mr. David Mattocks; arrived at his home at 1306. He was ready to go
with his bag packed and in the driveway. We departed his home by 1315
hrs. with an ETA of 1628 at the Best Western in Covington, Virginia.
We arrived and checked in at 1638 hrs. Everything was ready upon our
I did a quick check and found the banquet hall and buffet set up with
gear for the guest warriors of this trip. This was unbelievable!
Truly Christmas in June. Phil Johnson and the PHW organization had
secured a fantastic assortment of gear for each Warrior and Veteran
angler thanks to the generous support of the Guilford Foundation.
Orvis breathable boot foot waders, Orvis breathable fishing rain
parka, an official Project Healing Waters TFO 4 piece 5 weight, 9 ft
rod, reel and line setup with travel case, a chest tackle pack with
hemostats, nippers, and aluminum fly box with the PHW logo on it,
stocked with an assortment of 15+ flies for the Escatawba Water was
all purchased with a grant from the Guilford Foundation.
The guides drew the names at random of the warriors and called them up
to present them with their complimentary gear setup and welcome them.
There was a volunteer guide for each warrior. After everyone had their
kit and was seated, Phil made a few opening remarks about the program.
Wow, did I learn a great deal and was even further impressed by the
organization. I never knew there are over 100 chapters in North
America to include Canada, and that it took nearly 2,000 volunteers to
serve the needs of nearly 3,500 Warriors. Furthermore there are only
five paid positions in the entire PHW organization allowing an
incredible $.88 cents of every donated dollar to be used on the
warriors. This is an incredible statistic for a non-profit
organization. The dinner buffet began and was outstanding!
Baked chicken and sliced prime rib au juis! Finally the desert tables
were brimming with two types of pie: pecan and apple, plus cheesecake
and superb fresh strawberry shortcake. Soft drinks and coffee were
served by a very friendly and courteous wait staff of the Best Western
– first class service!
The owner of the Escatawba Farms, Derrick Barr, welcomed us and gave a
bit of the history of his family-run business and to give his
obviously heartfelt thanks to the warriors. He has a phenomenal
resource in a 500 acre, 1.7 mile pristine trout stream that has been
cared for and developed by his family since 1920.
The next drawing of the evening was to assign guides to warriors for
the next day. We were going to switch after the catered lunch break
and again twice on the second day of fishing. What a great
opportunity: the experience of four separate guides on some
outstanding trout waters with top quality gear donated to each
warrior. After dinner several of the guides handed out additional
flies they tied for this trip to each of the warriors as an additional
thank you. Others held tying classes/demonstrations in their rooms to
nearly 2300 hours. We were like a bunch of kids the night before
Christmas. Sleep was a challenge due to the promise of a fantastic day
Day two: A fantastic complimentary breakfast served by the ever
courteous Best Western staff. We have a plan to depart the hotel by
0700 and be on the water by 0730. We get to the Escatawba Farm by
0730. The owners greet edus and the guides sorted out who will start
fishing where. The hosts accommodated the less ambulatory warriors
with Gator ATV transportation and some locations with easier vehicle
access. The guides did a wonderful job matching flies to the fish in
each of their unique locations. My first guide has over three years
experience on this stretch of river. He was very accommodating in all
aspects of guiding from recommending fly patterns and sizes, as well
as casting and approach techniques. We stopped for lunch and headed
back to the pavilion for a lunch of a mix of hot and cold sandwiches
including Philly cheesesteaks, club style, and Italian hoagies, along
with an assortment of chips and some homemade brownies that were
superb! There were plenty of soft drinks and water to drink. After
lunch we drew for new guides for the afternoon and new stretches of
water to fish. This is another great opportunity to learn from another
very experienced guide on how he reads the water and conditions and
makes his fly recommendations. My new guide has over seven years
experience on this stretch of water and has tied some incredible flies
just for this trip. I was able to land five fantastic fish, three
larger than 18 inches and one above 20 inches, in the running for the
largest of the trip. We all got back to the pavilion and begin to swap
some fish stories of the day all by 4:15, and back at the hotel by 5
pm. We meet again at 6 pm to depart for what promises to be another
fine meal at a local seafood restaurant, the Cat and Owl.
Phil greeted us again and informed us of our menu choices of either a
steak or salmon dinner with a full selection of side dishes and
drinks. Phil made another presentation, this time a print of the
Campaign Medal Fly Plate that is on display in the American Museum of
Fly Fishing. The print is beautiful and is a nice tribute veterans
integrated with an attractive selection of flies that match each of
the campaign medals in the print.
Next on the agenda is to download everyone’s photos and begin the
consolidation process. I was impressed with the quantity and quality
of the pictures taken. Folks wandered off to bed without another round
of late night tying lessons. The sun and excitement has taken a toll
on everyone and breakfast will come quickly at 0600.
Day 3: We eagerly rise and meet for breakfast and prepare for another
great day of incredible fishing. The weather promises to be even
warmer in the upper nineties but should be a bit more overcast with a
possibility of scattered showers later in the day. Breakfast is
timely, filling, and tasty once again. We clear our rooms and prepare
to convoy back to the Escatawba and make our final departure from
Once back at the main guest pavilion, we again draw our guides and get
our assignments along the water. Another fabulous guide on terrific
water – this trip is marvelous. I am blessed with another three
wonderful fish before we break for lunch and make the final
consolidation of photos of the trip. Everyone is very helpful and I am
able to get everyone’s photos and start burning CDs so everyone can
leave with a copy of all the pictures as of lunchtime. We are now up
over 290 photos! They just barely fit on one CD. It took about 6-8
minutes to burn a disk. The selfless service displayed is touching.
The efforts will be remembered and enjoyed for years to come. Thanks
to all who helped, everyone on this trip and PHW benefitted from the
In closing, I cannot say enough about what a wonderful opportunity the
Escatawba fishing trip has been for all of the warriors and me. A
number of us who have fished before may not have thought we would ever
get back out on the water again. Others who have never experienced the
beauty, relaxation and peace of fly fishing, cannot have imagined such
a fantastic opportunity. I thank the owners of the Escatawba Farms and
all the guides who volunteered their time and gave generously of their
advice, experience and fly boxes. Additional thanks to all the
sponsors and vendors who donated an unbelievable amount of high
quality equipment. It provided a super way for someone to be
introduced to a wonderful and therapeutic hobby which can provide so
much to the individual and the environment alike. The conservation and
habitat management will serve to benefit generations of fishers and
non-fishers alike. For the warriors, the peace and calm of enjoying
some of the best nature has to offer grants a level of peace and
serenity not easily experienced, especially on the road to recovery as
a wounded warrior. A special thanks to Mr. Phil Johnson for the
countless hours spent coordinating the vast number of people and
vendors to provide a once-in-a-lifetime quality event for us. His
energy, passion, and enthusiasm for fly fishing, desire to help the
warriors, and work ethic serves as a model worthy of emulation. Phil,
thank you for helping me take some critical steps along my road to
recovery and healing.
G. Chizmar, LTC
United States Army
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is grateful to the Guilford
Foundation for the financial support and encouragement it has provided
to the Virginias region and PHWFF organization for the past three
years. To date, $44,500 has been received and used to fund the fly
fishing outing expenses, including lodging, transportaton, and fly
fishing gear for this specific trip. The recovering troops and
disabled veterans who participted in the PHWFF program and joined the
group were treated to an exceptional quality of life experience that
included fly tying, fly casting and togetherness.
Pro Teams at the '2 Fly' on May1st, 2011
Brain Trow and Sgt Marcos
Rivera team #1.
Colby Trow and David Hall team #2.
Colby and David won second place in the Pro Division.
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 | The
April 13, 2011
Phil Johnson of the Virginias recently met with John Kelly, General
Manager of Salisbury Country Club to present John with a certificate
of appreciation for continuous support of the Urban Fishing program.
Along with the certificate John was presented a print of a jumping
brown trout depicting the PHWFF mission.
The need to have an easy access flat grass area next to a pond full of
fish was the wish of the PHWFF volunteers and recreational therapists
at McGuire Center. The spinal cord injury unit has many vets and
warriors who are confined to wheelchairs. This limits to some degree
where they can put into practice the fly fishing skill they have
gained at the VA center.
The back 9 of the 27 hole golf course fits the bill to a tee. During
the spring, summer and early fall months PHWFF and McGuire travel to
the Salisbury County Club to take the vets and warriors fly fishing.
We fish on the ponds right on the fairway. The club advises its
members the back 9 will be closed from 5:00 PM. to 7:30PM.
During each session the volunteers work with each caster to improve
their skills and help then land Bluegills and Bass. PHWFF provides all
the rods and flies. Sometimes Vets fish their own flies they tied
during the regular tying session. These sessions are held on the off
nights when we are not fly fishing at the club.
We are now working with the club on setting up the schedule for 2011.
Salisbury, by allowing us to use their ponds are really supporting
PHWFF and helping us supporting our great service men and women who
have given so much to their country.
PHWFF salutes Salisbury Country Club for their kindness.
Regional Coordinator The Virginias
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 | The
April 12, 2011
April 12, 2011 turned out to be an overcast, sometimes rainy day at
Ancarrow’s Landing on the James River near the I-95 bridge. Over the
past three years PHWFF has had to cancel this event do to high water,
high winds, and rain. But, this year the forecast of thundershowers
never materialized. We were able to do a lot of fly fishing before we
called it a day.
There were a total of 8 boats with guides to assist the 11 warriors
from the Ft. Eustis WTU and Vet Outpatients from Hunter McGuire
Medical Center in Richmond. The boat owners came from Fly Fishers of
Virginia, Ford Colony Fly Fishers of Williamsburg and The Virginia
Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries who provided their pontoon boat for
the event. Each boat was supplied with drinks and box lunches as well
as 9ft 8 wt rods with full sinking lines.
It should be noted that Bass Pro Shops of Ashland, VA was very
generous in donating 10 new full sinking lines. Without these lines
the results would have been a lot fewer shad to the net.
It’s safe to say most of the warriors and vets had never fly fished
for shad, so with the assistance of the guides and some great shad
flies, all warriors and vets were able to catch some shad. We had
one vet take shad on flies he tied so that was very special.
At the end of the day, all hands agreed we need to plan on doing this
trip next spring when the shad return to the fall line on the James at
Regional Coordinator – The Virginias
Warriors from Ft Eustis WTU and Vets
from McGuire VA Center kick off the spring season in big way with a
day on the ROSE RIVER FARM.
Doug Dear owner of Rose River Farm private trout water again opened
this well stocked water to the Warriors and Vets in the PHWFF program.
With this kind offer it allowed new fly fishermen the rare opportunity
to fly fish for really big Rainbows in fast moving water. The largest
fish of the day was taken by US Army Cpt. Jake Goodine a 23” Rainbow.
There were many nice size fish netted and all the Warriors and Vets
had fish come to the net.
Each Warrior and Vet had a guide working with them. This builds
conference in the Warriors and Vets who are new to the sport of fly
fishing. A special thank you goes to all the Volunteers who offered
their time and talent.
It's interesting to note on this trip we had three new guys fly fish
for the first time. At the end of the day all were 'Hooked' on the
Although it started off a bit frosty, by midday it was quite nice but
made better then at lunch. Bowls of hot chicken soup and great deli
sandwich were enjoyed by all hands.
All in all it was a wonderful day on the Rose.
Regional Coordinator- The Virginias
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