Trout Unlimited Veterans Service Partnership

Who we are

Throughout its history, our nation has been blessed with an extraordinary band of men and women who have sacrificed so much for the people of our nation. Regardless of the situation, regardless of the danger, these brave individuals have answered the call to protect our liberties and freedoms. TU is appreciative of their sacrifices and in ever-growing number, our members are stepping up to provide healing, rehabilitation and hope to those who have experienced the traumas of war. The Veterans Service Partnership is a nationwide effort initiated by TU in 2011 to bring the healing power of the water to those who have served our nation so boldly. As we engage our 400 chapters and 140,000 members in this good work, we are seeing miracles, large and small, on a regular and increasing basis.

 

What we do

In partnership with Project Healing Waters, other veteran’s service organizations, and our own independent chapters, TU members meet with the recovering warriors at VA Medical Centers, outpatient clinics and military facilities across the nation where we teach the basics of fly casting, fly tying, rod and drift boat building, fishing techniques, basic entomology and coldwater fisheries conservation, followed by many on-stream outings.

What you can do

If you are located in the vicinity of a VA or other veteran’s facility, or a Department of Defense facility, and are interested in providing a little payback and healing to a group of deserving veterans, there is a good chance that the local TU chapter has a program under way.  If not, why not get with your fishing partners and start one? You have the option of partnering with Project Healing Waters, or if you are interested in providing our program to all veterans, regardless of disability, you have the option of forming a program and operating independently under the TU banner.

Every community, regardless of size, has a population of veterans that can benefit from our VSP. Whether disabled or not, each of them will appreciate an extended hand and a “thank you.” And many of them can benefit emotionally and physically from the sport we love. To help you get started, we have available a good roadmap through our Program Guide and other documents.

If this sounds like something that you might have a passion for, it’s as simple as contacting our Veterans Service Partnership Coordinator, Alan Folger at (828) 290-3730, or via email at afolger@tu.org to get the ball rolling. 

Our program Sponsors

Without initial support of the TELOS Corporation, and the ongoing funding that they have provided, our veterans program would not have gotten off the ground.  And without follow-up support of the Goyanes Family Foundation to increase our capacity, we would not be at our present place with nearly a fourth of our 400 chapters participating in the VSP. Without them, and too many others to name, our program would not exist.

 

The future

The Department of Defense has estimated that in the coming year or two, over 1 million of our service members will be transitioning from the military to civilian life. Many of these brave souls will have suffered from their time in the service and can benefit from the program that we offer. Whether their injuries are physical and readily identified by you and I, or their wounds are the invisible wounds of war like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), we can help with their recovery and their reintegration into society.  We can do what we have the capacity to do. From the therapy we can provide through fly tying and rod building—therapies that improve fine motor skills, concentration and coordination—to the healing aspects of standing in a clear-water trout stream and experiencing the soothing power of nature,  we can offer support.

 


Contact

Alan Folger
Veterans Service Partnership Coordinator

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