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Project Healing Waters event


HE PROJECT HEALING WATERS event staged in late October by the CCA NC Onslow Bay Chapter provid-

ed an incredible experience for par- ticipants and volunteers alike. Volunteers grilled steak and pork barbecue for slider sandwiches, and provided plenty of beer and drinks for all of the participants at the

He has about 125 veterans on his

roster at any given time that the

organization helps through fly fishing. He gets referrals from the VA Hospital in Durham, the Raleigh Veterans Center and some nursing homes.

Friday night captains’ meeting at state board member Rocky Carter’s house overlooking Queen Creek. Hodge Jordan, who chaired the Swansboro event, said about 40 vet- erans were introduced to the 28 boat captains who would take them fish- ing the next day. Despite heavy

scouting that included a chapter member flying his helicopter over the Swansboro shoreline, fishing was rough on Saturday because of an east wind that chopped up the bay, Jordan said. “We did catch some Spanish

mackerel, trout, red drum, blues and a 40-pound king mackerel,” he added.

When the boats returned, volun- teers had prepared a Low Country boil dinner with 10 bushels of oysters and plenty of homemade desserts. “It was an incredible day,” Jordan said, explaining that no matter how much the volunteers work, they receive more than they give. “You never know how much it means to the veterans.”

The chapter helped cover expens- es for the event, including two nights’ lodging for the veterans. Without CCA NC’s help, a lot of the participants would not have been able to come, said Dan Estrem, the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. coordinator for Project Healing Waters. He has about 125 veterans on his

roster at any given time that the orga- nization helps through fly fishing. He gets referrals from the VA Hospital in Durham, the Raleigh Veterans Center and some nursing homes.

During the winter they build fly

rods and tie flies, which helps with motor skills. But getting out of the house every Thursday to socialize and fish in local ponds gives them a peace- ful outlet to minimize their depression

or loneliness, Estrem explained. He told the story of one vet who came to a number of meetings but sat off to the side and wouldn’t talk to anyone. Now he’s a regular and can’t wait for Thursdays. Another vet built a fly rod but never took it home and stopped coming to meetings. Estrem found out the man was in hospice with terminal cancer and took him the rod.

“He was pleased and died with it in his hand. That’s how much the organization means to veterans,” he said.

Estrem brought about 30 vets

from his region, another half dozen came from Wounded Warriors and a few Purple Heart recipients from Camp Lejeune also participated. “The amount of work CCA put into the event was phenomenal,” he said. “It’s hard to describe what it meant to the guys.”

Bobby Rice of High Point was one of the volunteer captains. “I took a young man, 24, from Missouri who had never fished salt- water,” Rice said. “He got a waiver and joined the Marines at 17, served two tours in Afghanistan then was blinded in one eye. He was an inspi- ration to me. Here’s a young man in his prime, a combat veteran who is now facing a medical discharge and doesn’t know what he’s going to do in the future. He had such a great attitude; it was truly incredible. It makes me feel good about the young men who will lead our country.”



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