Veterans Day and Trout Unlimited

Today is Veterans Day! Thank you to all our nation's veterans for serving our country and protecting our freedoms!

The Veterans Service Partnership (VSP) is an initiative begun by Trout Unlimited in 2011 with a mission to serve our nation’s military family, our veterans, able and disabled, active military, spouses, and families and to involve them with TU chapter activities with the ultimate goal of engaging them in a meaningful, life-long, and sustaining way with the TU community locally and in TU conservation programs and initiatives.   In 2016, we have more than 200 TU chapters involved in VSP activities.  In 2015, TU VSP chapters engaged 3,896 veterans with 1100 fly tying sessions, 420 fly casting lessons, and 500 fishing trips and outings. To all the TU members who volunteer to provide these wonderful activities for our veterans, I wish to convey my thanks and gratitude.

On my desk, I have taped a card given to me by my son Kevin, a 2009 West Point grad currently serving in the US Army as a CPT in Army Finance.  On this card is written the Soldiers Creed on one side and the Army Values on other.

The Soldier's Creed side of the card reads as follows:

I am an American Solider.  I am a Warrior and a member of a team.  I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values. 

I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat

I will never quit

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined physically and mentally, tough, trained, and proficient in my Warrior tasks and details.  I always maintain my arms, my equipment, and myself.  I am an expert, and I am a professional.  I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat. I am a guardian of Freedom and the American way of life.  I am an American Soldier.  

The Army Values are

LOYALTY: Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other Soldiers.

DUTY: Fulfill your obligations.

RESPECT: Treat People as they should be treated.

SELFLESS SERVICE: Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.

HONOR: Live up to all the Army Values.

INTEGRITY: Do what's right, legally and morally.

PERSONAL COURAGE:Face fear, danger, and adversity (Physical or Moral)

While I did not serve in the military myself, I've met many, many veterans through my Army son's service, my 10 years of volunteering with therapeuctic fly fishing programs for wounded warriors, and my 3+ years of working on TU's VSP program.  When I talk with TU leaders, I discover that many are veterans themselves. While I understand what all the words on my Soldier's Creed card mean, I have learned that those who have served, who have been trained and instructed in the military have a special understanding of these principles and live these values in their daily lives.  I am convinced the veteran makes a valuable TU member.  

On this Veterans Day, please reach out and thank the veterans in your lives and those you meet.  Thank them for their service, and if you have the opportunity, please thank their spouses, and their children.  Tell them you're a member of Trout Unlimited, and mention our Veterans Service Partnership program. TU offers a free one year introductory membership for veterans who have worked with a TU chapter, council, or participated in a TU VSP program.  They will receive all the benefits of a paid membership. They will also receive a less tangible benefit, the pleasure of knowing you're part of a growing community of individuals who enjoy angling and want to keep America's rivers cold, clean and fishable. If you are so motivated, sign them up on the spot through the following link! 

https://gifts.tumembership.org/vsp_join?_ga=1.111959748.1112766579.1465857372

Sincerely,

Dave Kumlien, Coordinator, Veterans Service Partnership, 406-570-0023, Email DKumlien@tu.org

Comments

 
said on Friday, November 11th, 2016

I am not a Veteran. But on Veteran's Day each year I cannot help but remember my father, Harry J. Hood. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps during WWII at the age of 19. My Dad was an avid outdoorsman, brought up in the western Nebraska pine ridge area of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He played the drums in a traveling dance band from the time he was 11 years old. When he got to San Diego and after basic training the Marines immediately placed him in the US Marine Corp marching band.  

He was first shipped out to Guam, which by then had been taken by the US. After island hoping for some time and contracting malaria he was eventually headed to the "front lines" if there is such a thing when you are taking over small Pacific Islands? The war waged on and then came his Company's orders to board ships and they headed east ... next stop... unknown to them, was Iwo Jima. Obviously, by this time the Marines had traded my dad's drum sticks for an M-1 rifle and when he was ashore he was assigned duty as a stretcher barrier. It was not until I was 40 years old did I hear some of his story. He had buried these memories of 1945. He told us many harrowing stories of he and his stretcher partners carrying their dying and wounded comrades out of the fox holes and trenches onto the beaches and often times staying with them all the way to the hospital ships anchored off the coast. Only then to be ordered back to the island to do it again.

From the time I was old enough to fish and hunt with my Dad, about 7 years old, I tagged along. I caught my first trout with him on a spring creek just outside of Scottsbluff  and hunted ducks and pheasant with him across nearly all of the panhandle of Nebraska. My Dad was my original conservation mentor. "If you kill it, you'll eat it" he would say and we enjoyed many great meals. I also learned back then that often times letting them go was usually more enjoyable than gutting and also that fishing was more enjoyable than hunting. I still picture that hiding to shoot a turkey or a deer is somewhat like being a sniper. But I understand and also remember the thrill of the hunt.

Today and every day since I joined Trout Unlimited, with every talk I give, or presentation I make to students at grade schools and high schools I mention my Dad and show a picture of him as the person that taught me about being a conservationist and that working to improve and to protect all of what he showed me,  that these things should now be important to them. So today, another Veteran's Day I once again dedicate my future works in conservation and at Trout Unlimited to my Dad and say Thank You Dad and also say thank you to all those that gave so much, so we could enjoy all the freedoms we have today.

Scott Hood                                                                                                                                                          Trout Unlimited Trustee and member of Oklahoma Chapter #420 

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said on Friday, November 11th, 2016

Thank you for your story Scott.  Brought tears to my eyes.  What a wonderful man your Dad must have been.  Bless you for sharing those memories.  

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