For the 4th consecutive year, TU’s Veterans Service Partnership partnered with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to co-host the 2017 TAPS Montana Men’s Retreat help at Parade Rest Ranch (PRR) near West Yellowstone from September 13-17. TAPS provides grief counseling and support for families who have lost loved ones in militiary service. TAPS runs retreats for all family members, and the Men’s Retreat is specifically for surviving men grieving the loss of a loved one who served in the Armed Forces. TU VSP provides fly fishing instruction, fly fishing equipment and flies, and 2 days of guided fishing on the nearby Madison River for 38 TAPS men and staff. In addition to the fishing activities, the men go horseback riding, spend time in various TAPS activities, and visit nearby Yellowstone Park.
The event began on Wednesday, 9/13, with fly casting instruction provided by TU VSP Coordinator and Montana fly fishing outfitter Dave Kumlien. While weather was tolerable for casting practice and for fishing on Thursday morning, a major cold front rolled in and by the early afternoon temperatures dropped, the north wind blew, and rains began (much needed as Montana has lots of forest fires). Still, before the weather deteriorated, TAPS anglers caught a number of nice, wild Madison River browns and rainbows and Mountain whitefish. Unfortunately, weather continued to deteriorate during the night, and in the face of a severe winter storm warning for all day on Friday, the fishing and horseback riding was canceled in favor of a visit to the IMAX theater and the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. The retreat ends today, Saturday, 9/16 with a trip into the spectacular, snow covered Yellowstone Park!
TU and the Veterans Service Partnership is honored to partner with TAPS and serve these very deserving men and their families. Their sacrifice and that of all of our nation’s military families allow all of us to enjoy our freedoms and the many blessings of living in this great country. If you are interested in more information on how you and your TU chapter can become involved in TU’s Veterans Service Partnership, please contact VSP Coordinator Dave Kumlien at DKumlien@tu.org or call 406-570-0023