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Fall River Outing and BBQ

Fall River Outing and BBQ

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Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. Program

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Veterans find therapy in fly fishing

Veterans find therapy in fly fishing

LONG BEACH - Monday mornings on a baseball field at…

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Veterans find therapy in fly fishing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 18 October 2010 13:07

LONG BEACH - Monday mornings on a baseball field at the Long Beach Veterans Affairs hospital, disabled veteran Andy Anderson practices his fly fishing techniques.

Though fond of the sport, Anderson acknowledges its challenges.

"The wheelchair wasn't made for fly fishing," Anderson said.

Anderson joins other disabled veterans with Project Healing Waters, an organization for disabled veterans.

Founded by retired Navy Capt. Ed Nicholson, Project Healing Waters teaches basic fly fishing, fly casting and fly tying techniques, an effort Anderson deeply appreciates.

"The cooperation with Healing Waters is outstanding," Anderson said. "They just seem to really want to do it."

He is not alone with this sentiment.

Fellow disabled veteran Jesus Garza has enjoyed what the organization has done.

"It's a welcoming sign that people are not forgetting us," said Garza, who served in the 4th infantry division during the Vietnam War. Garza said fly fishing has helped him physically, mentally and spiritually.

"I can honestly say that being out with Mother Nature has really helped me out," Garza said. "The body pain that I carry seem to just go away."

Robert Cruz said fly fishing gives him balance and peace.

While serving in Vietnam, Cruz was injured, leaving him paralyzed on the left side.

Cruz said he found out about the group from Anderson.

"I asked Andy if I could get into it," Cruz said. "Thank God I did, thank him."

Carole Katz, a Project Healing Waters trustee member, started the Long Beach chapter.

Katz said most of the participants served in the Vietnam War.

"They were ostracized and not accepted," Katz said. "It was a sad chapter in our history."

Dennis Martinez, a disabled veteran, looks forward to volunteering Mondays. He said he admires the spirit of the veterans.

"They're pretty determined in coming here every week," Martinez said.

While fly fishing keeps the veterans' interest, the camaraderie bonds them.

"We're like a little family," Cruz said. "We were a band of brothers then, and we're a band of brothers and sisters now."

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