Disabled Women Veterans Attending Fly Fishing Retreat On The Clinch
A fly fishing retreat for women who are disabled veterans is set for this weekend, July 15-17, on the Clinch River and at Rabbit Run Retreat in Norris. Female fly fishing professionals are coming from throughout the region to serve as river guides for the veterans.
The outing, organized by Murfreesboro resident Marilyn Rogan of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF), is the first one here designed entirely for women. Rogan, social media and communication director for PHWFF in the Tennessee Valley Region, says the event is free for the two dozen veterans attending—one-third of them from Murfreesboro and the majority from Middle Tennessee.
All costs are covered by donations to PHWFF, a national nonprofit organization devoted to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled veterans and active military service personnel through fly fishing, fly tying education and outings. For more information and to make donations.
The event will be at Rabbit Run Retreat, 2862 Norris Freeway, with trout fishing on the Clinch tailwater. Participants will check-in Friday afternoon between 2 and 5. Fishing will be in the mornings, with crafts and fly tying class in the afternoons. After supper, there will be a healing time followed by games, homemade ice cream, and visiting.
Rogan, of Murfreesboro, says PHWFF outings are intended to give veterans a time of peace, relaxation, and fun. The veterans, who suffer from physical problems or with PTSD, are able “to lose themselves in nature and hopefully relieve some of the pain and anxiety,” she says. “It is amazing the change we see in some of them. They come out of their shell and start letting go some of the pent-up feelings from experiencing war at its worst.”
Rogan adds that any disabled veterans, male or female, who want to participate in PHWFF can contact her—”I will direct them to the nearest program in Tennessee. We are always interested in contacting more women into our organization. We have an outing coming up on Aug. 12 for veterans at the Caney Fork, and then several more at Dale Hollow.”
About Captain Kimberly Ramona Smith (USMC | Afghanistan), the fly fishing guide who keeps on giving
Captain Smith has been a serious angler since childhood where tricks of the trade were taught to her by a soldier dad.
Currently, she is with NICoE at Ft. Belvoir and resides at the Fisher House while receiving treatment for serve complex PTSD, Moderate TBI. She is learning how to adjust to using mostly her right side due to a stroke and seizures that have caused loss of mobility and strength due to injuries sustained in combat. Her goal is to one day be a mother who can do all the little things again someday with her kids, that we take for granted. She also wants to give back to others that have given so much to her during her recovery. For she will never forget where she came from and will forever be blessed to those who give so much. Capt Smith doesn’t know what she would do without PHWFF. It has given her a spark of new life and fills her heart with strength. The people have become her family just like the Marine Corps.
Capt Smith has found her motivation for healing through fly-fishing, poetry, painting, and most of all her support at home and service dog Shian.
A few more of your guides:
Kiki Galvin has been fishing for more than 50 years. In 2006, Kiki became associated with Project Healing Waters at Walter Reed Medical Center and now sits on their board of directors of Project Healing Waters.
Wanda Taylor is well known throughout the fly fishing community – both nationally and internationally. She is also the world’s first woman to become a Master Certified Casting Instructor by the International Federation of Fly Fishers. Read more about Wanda here . . . and here . . .