Warriors and Quiet Waters 7th year of service successfully kicked off May 1-6 (FX 1-12). This event marked several turning points in our program activities. This year we will include one more event in our annual schedule for a line-up of 5 solo and 2 couples events.
Further, we now rely on the support of 5 local fly shops, all of which provide licensed fishing guides. FX 1-12 has proven that this change offers significant benefits, including: continuity of support between a Wounded Warrior and his guide, and a continued expansion of our local fishing guides to participate. This focus on expansion extends to the balance of the volunteers, with over 50% percent having an opportunity to support Warriors and Quiet Waters for the first time.
In classic style for our May event, these 6 Marines faced the challenges of a traditional Montana spring, literally experiencing all forms of blustery weather including snow, hail, rain, wind and warm sunshine – and on some occasions, all in the same day! And they loved it, even the Wounded Warrior from Hawaii (well, some “loved” it more than others). One thing is certain; all these Marines experienced a great Montana weather sampler.
The Wounded Warriors found the solace of Montana and the challenges of Fly Fishing a significant benefit in dealing with their wounds. As our Facebook photo page shows, these guys nailed some whopper trout, both in private ponds, spring creeks, and the Madison River. And, to round out their new found fishing talents we continued our two sessions of intensive fly tying training. A number of the guys used the flies they tied to trick a trout or two onto their hook. They will return home with not only new fishing skills, but the ability to catch fish on the flies they tie.
Not surprisingly, the way to a Wounded Warrior’s heart is through his stomach. Our “Mom’s” provided amazing food and home spun love, which will certainly stick with these guys for quite a while. I’m sure that our “boys” gained the required five pounds and connected with their new found Moms.
One unusual highlight of this event occurred during the trip to Yellowstone National Park. While it’s not that rare to see animals in the park, this time they saw 5 bears, including 1 sow with cubs. Even more remarkable they saw a Buffalo giving birth.
As we said our farewells at the end of the program, we reminded each of them that they are forever in our hearts and welcome back to Montana.
On behalf of the dedicated volunteers,
Blue Team Leader, FX 1-12