Words and Images from Ed Felker

Healing Those Who Serve

Project Healing Waters held its sixth annual 2-Fly Tournament this past weekend and it was, as it always is, an amazing experience for all involved. Rose River Farm was declared PHW’s national home waters at last year’s event, and it’s a perfect venue for this quickly growing tradition.

Project Healing Waters “is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings,” says their mission statement. An unquestionably noble mission it is, and founder Ed Nicholson’s vision is made possible because countless volunteers and donors and corporations generously give time and money and equipment to support it.

This year’s event was the biggest and best yet! Please visit the PHW web site for more information or to make a donation to this cause that has changed the lives of so many men and women who have sacrificed so much. I hope you enjoy some of the sights from this year’s event…

A time lapse film of all the volunteers and anglers arriving early Sunday morning.

One of the participants’ daughters helping out.

The healing power of simply being in nature can not be understated.

I’ve met many great people through my involvement with PHW. Josh is a friend, a new doting father and one hell of a fly fisherman. You can read more about him and purchase amazing flies from him on his Dead Drift Flies web site.

Douglas Dear, in the foreground here welcoming the participants, works tirelessly all year long on this event and as Chairman of PHW’s board.

It’s hard to find anyone not in a great mood at this event!

Guides like Harold from Spring Creek Outfitters give freely of their time and expertise year after year to make sure the wounded servicemen and women get the very most from their experience.

Oh yeah, there are also some huge trout in the Rose River!

Sometimes captions just aren’t needed.

Choosing the right fly is tough when you only get to choose two for the entire day!

Measuring a catch.

Entertainment, food, logistics…so many people come through to put on an event like this.

Everywhere you turn, moments like this are unfolding. Josh used to play guitar before he lost his arm. So he and Russ teamed up to play a few songs.

We focus a lot on the wounded, and sometimes overlook the sacrifices, the painful adjustments the families of those wounded have to endure. God bless them all.


21 responses

  1. This is a wonderful post Ed. The images are moving. Nell

    May 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

  2. What a fantastic post. You captured the spirit of the organisation better than I have ever seen.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:36 am

    • Nick, what a wonderful compliment. Thank you so much. I had originally intended to write much more, but decided to let the images do most of the talking.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:51 am

  3. What amazing photographs. Dude, you seriously do have skills with the camera and words….

    May 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm

  4. Harold Harsh

    Great! Great! Great! You are the best Ed! Thanks for posting

    May 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm

  5. Jerry Nonnemacher

    Excellent blog,my friend. You captured the event in all it’s glory

    May 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm

  6. Great post and great photos… looks like a wonderful event, I am glad it was such a big success. Great time lapse too! looking forward to more of those. After seeing the size of that trout I think I might have to get down to that river with my brother one day. He would flip.

    Dumb question: why just two flies for the day??


    May 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    • Anna it’s just a way to add more strategy to the competition – choosing in advance only two flies that may work in differing conditions all day in different spots on the river, and add to that the challenge of not losing one in a tree or in a sloppily played five pound rainbow and you’ve got yourself a fun contest!

      May 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm

  7. Tad Yergey

    No words… Kudos to Doug, all the volunteers and you. Thanks to all who served for their sacrifice

    May 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm

  8. What a really cool experience ! Drove out to Wolfsville Road/AT on Saturday and the fly fishermen were out in full force.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm

  9. One of the best events I have ever attended! It was a privilege to be there!

    May 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm

  10. Okay, so I have been backlinking to this on all of my favorite forums and on my blog at http://sparetimefish.blogspot.com.

    You should be proud of the great coverage you gave the event. Very touching, and I agree, God bless them all.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm

  11. Inspirational. Thank you for sharing.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:22 pm

  12. I am a Veteran, a photographer and fly angler, and that photograph of the Purple Heart and fly is very moving in many ways. I was an HR Sergeant, and have handled a Purple Heart or two as well written up the the documents for the award, so I have a pretty good understanding of the Purple Heart.. And the fly is very beautiful.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:24 pm

  13. Really wonderful post, Ed. I’m so impressed by what you do, as a person and as an artist. Very, very glad to know you.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:37 pm

  14. I know nothing at all about fly fishing, but this touches my heart. I have a real yearning to support organizations committed to our wounded servicemen and women. I’ve recently been looking into organizations that primarily address returnees with head injury. It doesn’t matter to me where the wounds are, it’s the heartache that they don’t return to their families whole. What a wonderful event, and I’m so glad you shared about the intent! The smiles are wonderful to see. Debra

    May 2, 2012 at 12:35 am

  15. I served three tours in Viet Nam, earning three (3) Purple Hearts, Silver Star and a Bronze Star with a V device, and I am humbled to be around the vets of todays wars from around the world. I have been a volunteer with PHW from the first meeting six years ago to the present. The Maine chapter of PHW has taken the vets to the Rapid River, Heald Pond, Grand Lake Stream and this year we are taking the vets to King and Bartlet’s Lodge. I have seen first hand the good that comes out of this great, great program and look forward to every trip that I can go with the vets. What a great piece of work these pictures and words are keep up the great work.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:12 am

  16. I really like that picture of Josh. Something about how close you are yet he’s still wearing sunglasses. Unique.

    May 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm

  17. Richard & Kathleen Fite

    Josh, you tell an important and moving story through your art…nicely done. all the best, Rich

    May 20, 2012 at 7:30 am

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