The non-profit organization Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is hosting an event for veterans in Roanoke on Saturday.
Veterans and volunteers shared laughs and conversation over dinner at Martin’s Downtown on Friday night as they are gearing up for a big day of fly fishing on the Roanoke River.
“I had been fly fishing for a while while I was still in the military service,” said Caleb Love, who served with the United States Marine Corps for ten years.
Love said he has gone fly fishing with Project Healing Waters for the past three years.
“During my combat tours, I did experience some issues that kind of lasted with me for a while,” Love said. “By participating in Project Healing Waters, it really opened up the door for me to go out and start experiencing life a little bit more.”
“I got sent to Walter Reed, and that’s where I met Ed, and that’s where I kind of got my life back on track,” said Joshua Williams, who volunteers with Project Healing Waters and is one of the organizers of the group’s upcoming event.
Williams, a veteran himself, lost his arm following a motorcycle accident and said he is all too familiar with the healing process after a major injury.
“With missing my arm, I felt like I couldn’t do stuff anymore,” he said. “And so what Project Healing Waters did was they taught me how to fly fish, and so from that point I learned how to do things like tie flies, and that just blossomed into trying to tie my shoes.”
Project Healing Waters hosts fly fishing events to help veterans with rehabilitation, both physically and emotionally, Williams said. Friday night’s dinner and the veterans’ goodie bags filled with items like caps and cards from kids have all been donated, he added.
“You meet people who have shared experiences who are able to understand what you’re dealing with,” Love said. “And so they are able to get you out. You have a lot of camaraderie that you have while you’re in the military that you don’t have once you get out.”
Project Healing Waters hosts fly fishing events throughout the area several times a year, Williams said.
Saturday’s event will be held in Wasena Park from 8 a.m. until about 2 p.m. Registration is full, but Project Healing Waters is still seeking volunteers to help with the event.
Supporters are also welcome to attend, Williams said.
For more information about Project Healing Waters and upcoming events, click here.