Javascript is currently disabled. This site requires Javascript to function correctly. Please enable Javascript in your browser!

2 Fly Tournament

2014 Tournament


Join us for the 9th Annual 2-Fly Tournament at beautiful Rose River Farms to support Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing April 25 & 26, 2015.  The fun kicks off with dinner under the stars Saturday night, featuring top flight keynote speakers, a silent auction, and more. Sunday see fly fishing tournament action -  PHWFF participants from around the country compete, guided by industry professionals.  Stay tuned to this page for updates.  See photos and read stories from last year’s event…click here.


Gold - $15,000 (Two available)

  • Branded Merchandise: Sponsor logo branded on Official Tournament Buff or Nippers  New!!
  • One (1) table of ten (10) with the possibility to dine with disabled veterans
  • Designated seating and display of company name and corporate materials on table
  • Logo listing on the PHWFF website recognition in Tournament Program
  • Inclusion in all special event press releases
  • Verbal acknowledgement the evening of the event

Silver - $10,000 (Five available)

  • One (1) table of ten (10) with the possibility to dine with disabled veterans
  • Display of corporate logo or individual information at the event
  • Logo placement on website
  • Inclusion in all special event press releases
  • Verbal acknowledgement the evening of the event

Bronze - $5,000 (Four available)

  • One table at the Saturday night dinner for ten (10) guests
  • Display of corporate logo or individual information at the event
  • Logo listing on the PHWFF website recognition in Tournament Program
  • Inclusion in all special event press releases
  • Verbal acknowledgement the evening of the event

Pro-Vet Team Sponsorship $2,500 (12 available)

  • Sponsors tournament participation of one disabled military or veteran participant who will be paired with a professional fishing guide for the day.
  • Logo listing on the PHWFF website and name recognition in Tournament Program
  • Display of logo and corporate information at the event

Beat Sponsorship $1000 (12 available)

  • Corporate signage displayed prominently at the entrance to one Beat
  • Two Tickets to the dinner
  • Logo listing on the PHWFF website and name recognition in the Tournament Program

Dinner Tickets
  • Individual Sponsorships: $500 (includes two tickets and name recognition in program booklet)
  • Individual Tickets:  $100


Bluegill Tournament

  • 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.  Bluegill tournament at the Rose River Farm pond.This will be a fun “pre-tournament” event on the Rose River Farm pond for PHWFF participants and anglers competing in Sunday's tournament.
  • 4:45 p.m. (approximately) -PHWFF program participants in this year’s 2-Fly will be escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders from Culpeper to the Rose River Farm on Saturday night.
  • 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. Dinner at Rose River Farm.

Open to all volunteers and participants in the 2-Fly -- RSVP is required via the Evite announcement sent to all registered volunteers, participants and guests.

Click on the Saturday Dinner section below for more information about dinner and speakers.


  • 7:00 a.m. check in begins (coffee, doughnuts, and light snacks)
  • 7:15 - 7:30 rules briefing and beat assignments
  • 7:30 - 7:40 team photos
  • 7:45 National Anthem sung by Lisa Mei Norton
  • 8:00 - 9:30 round one fishing for 15 teams (teams time slots will be picked at random)
  • 10:00 - 11:30 round one for the 15 other teams
  • 11:00 - 12:30 Lunch
  • 12:00 - 1:30 round two for the first 15 teams
  • 12:30 - 1:15 Fly Fishing Clinic
  • 2:00 - 3:30 round two for the other teams
  • 2:30 - 3:15 Fly Fishing Clinic
  • 3:30 - 4:00 score tally relax time and other activities
  • 4:00 Awards Ceremony
All Day
  • Clinics with Fly Fishing Experts Check for posted times
  • Rod Demo
  • Bass and Bluegill fishing in the 2 ponds (fly only)
  • Free streamside broadband courtesy of Virginia Broadband.

Click on the Special Guests section below for more information on the expert clinics and other day-long features at this year’s 2-Fly.

Here is a list of lodging choices in the Syria, Culpeper, Ruckersville and Warrenton area where 2-Fly participants are staying.

Directions to Rose River Farm3099 Old Blue RidgeTurnpike (rt.670)Syria, Virginia 22743

From Washington D.C. - Take Interstate 66 West to Route 29 South at Gainesville. Stay on Route 29 South until 7 miles south of Culpeper. Take Right on to Route 609. Stay on Route 609 for 9 miles to a stop sign. Take Right on Route 231 North. Travel 1/2 mile. Take Left on Route 670. Travel 3 miles, Rose River Farm is on the left. (2 hour drive)

From Front Royal, VA - Take Route 522 South through Flint Hill. At Stop sign, take Right on Route 522/211 to Sperryville. At Sperryville, Take Left into town of Sperryville. At Flashing Red Light take Left on Route 522. Drive 1.5 miles Take Right on Route 231 South. Drive 14 miles, Take Right on Route 670. Travel 3 miles, Rose River Farm is on the left. (1 hour drive)

From Fredericksburg, VA - Take Route 3 West to Culpeper. Take Route 29 South. Stay on Route 29 South until 7 miles south of Culpeper. Take Right on to Route 609. Stay on Route 609 for 9 miles to a stop sign. Take Right on Route 231 North. Travel 1/2 mile. Take Left on Route 670. Travel 3 miles, Rose River Farm is on the left. (1 hour drive)

From Richmond, VA - (4 lane traffic to Madison) Take Interstate 64 West to Charlottesville. Take exit 118 to Culpeper, Route 250 Bypass. Follow Route 250 to Route 29 North (Follow signs to Culpeper) Stay on Route 29 North for approx. 26 miles to Madison. Take Left on 29 Business North. Go one mile, take Left on Route 231 North. Stay on Route 231 North for 8 miles. Take Left on Route 670. Travel 3 miles, Rose River Farm is on the left. (2 hour 15 minute drive)

View Larger Map

Saturday Night 2-Fly Dinner

The 8th Annual Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) 2-Fly weekend will kick off with a dinner, auction, and live music Saturday night (5 o’clock until dark) under a big tent at Rose River Farm. With the support of our headline sponsor CACI we have an exciting evening planned with great food provided by Gentry's catering and fantastic live music. Dress will be "fly fishing casual" and the atmosphere will be festive.

This year, Virginia Broadband will be providing free internet access for both days of the 2-Fly Tournament!

Early registration for participants, guides and volunteers will be available Saturday evening before the start of the program.Musical entertainment for Saturday night’s dinner will be the Gold Top Country Ramblers. Check them out on YouTube!

Corporate table sponsorships are still available for the 2-Fly Dinner. We are offering various levels of corporate table sponsorship at our pre-tournament dinner on Saturday night.

Saturday, April 26, 2014:Rose River Farm3099 Old Blue Ridge Turnpike (Route 670)Syria, Virginia 22743

Program Agenda:

  • 4:45 p.m. (approximately) - Warrior/Veteran participants in this year’s 2-Fly will be escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders from Culpeper to the Rose River Farm on Saturday night.
  • 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.: Cocktail Reception, Music and Silent Auction
  • 6:00 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.: Tented Dinner
  • 6:45 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.: Program featuring Keynote speaker ADM John Harvey, USN (ret.), who continues to serve veterans in Virginia under Governor Terry McAuliffe and Master of Ceremonies Major Nick Warren, USMC who serves as a Presidential Helicopter (Marine One) Pilot
  • 7:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.: Dessert Buffet under the stars

Sponsorship Packages

Presenting Sponsor— $30,000 (One Available)

For package benefits, please call 866-251-7252.

Gold— $15,000 (Two Available)

  • Branded Merchandise: Sponsor logo branded on Official Tournament Buff or Nippers New!!
  • One (1) table of ten (10) with the possibility to dine with disabled veterans
  • Designated seating and display of company name and corporate materials on table
  • Logo listing on the PHWFF website recognition in Tournament Program
  • Inclusion in all special event press releases
  • Verbal acknowledgement the evening of the event

Silver— $10,000 (Five Available)

  • One (1) table of ten (10) with the possibility to dine with disabled veterans
  • Display of corporate logo or individual information at the event
  • Logo placement on website
  • Inclusion in all special event press releases
  • Verbal acknowledgement the evening of the event

Bronze— $5,000 (Four Available)

  • One table at the Saturday night dinner for ten (10) guests
  • Display of corporate logo or individual information at the event
  • Logo listing on the PHWFF website recognition in Tournament Program
  • Inclusion in all special event press releases
  • Verbal acknowledgement the evening of the event

Pro-Vet Team Sponsorship----starting at $2500 (12 available)

  • Sponsors tournament participation of one disabled military or veteran participant who will be paired with a professional fishing guide for the day.
  • Logo listing on the PHWFF website and name recognition in Tournament Program
  • Display of logo and corporate information at the event

    Beat Sponsorship— $1000 (12 Available)

    • Corporate signage displayed prominently at the entrance to one Beat
    • Two Tickets to the dinner
    • Logo listing on the PHWFF website and name recognition in the Tournament Program

    Dinner Tickets:

    • Individual Sponsorships: $500 (includes two tickets and name recognition in program booklet)
    • Individual Tickets: $100
    • For Table Sponsorship: or ticket information contact Sandy at or call (301) 399-7396.


The 2-Fly Tournament will field up to twenty four teams; twelve Pro/Vet teams will comprise two veterans with a professional fly-fishing guide. Only the veterans will be able to fish. The professional guides cannot fish but should concentrate on assisting the veteran team members. The remaining twelve teams will be made up of two amateur fly anglers.


  • A. Contestants will furnish their own fly fishing equipment.
  • B. The type of rod and fly reel is the choice of the individual contestant.
  • C. The use of fly floatant, lead weight, leaders, or other accessories will be at the discretion of the contestant. Only floating fly lines are permitted.
  • D. No real or artificial fish attractants, such as scents, are allowed.
  • E. Traditional strike indicators are allowed.

Event Flies

  • A. Only two flies of any conventional pattern (dry, wet, nymph, streamer, etc.) will be allowed per contestant through the duration of the 2-Fly Event. A total of four flies will be allowed per team. If a contestant loses both flies during the event or the fly angler is finished for the day unless the other team member donates a fly. The same is true for a team that loses all four flies.
  • B. The rule committee considers that it would be impossible for a veteran (a veteran fishing on a Pro/Vet team!) to lose a fly.
  • C. Flies must be tied on a single barbless hook, or on a hook with the barb pushed down.

Fishing Procedure

  • A. Federal and state rules and regulations governing the waters to be fished will be strictly observed.
  • B. The river will be divided into twelve fishable beats.
  • C.All teams will fish two beats, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each beat will consist of one and a half hour increments, unless the lose all their allowed flies. Teams will be assigned via a drawing their fishing beat for the morning session and during the lunch break will be assigned a new fishing beat for the afternoon fishing session.
  • D. Both team members can fish at any one time but teams are strongly encouraged to consider only allowing one team member to fish, depending on the size of the fishing beat.
  • E. Each fishable beat will be assigned Steam Monitors who will confirm and validate each caught trout on a scoring sheet. Stream Monitors may assist the veteran teams on an as needed basis.
  • F. All trout species will be counted in the scoring. No "Fall" Fish will be counted. For a trout to be counted as "caught" the Stream Monitor needs to see the trout being landed and released with as little impact to the fish as possible.
  • G. Each team may only have three caught trout measured by the Stream Monitor during the tournament.
  • H. Fishing hours on the Rose River will be from 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM.
  • I. If a contestant's fly becomes caught in brush or in a snag, it may be recovered and reattached to the leader. The contestant may continue fishing in the event. The contestant can be disqualified by the Stream Monitor for any unsafe practice used to retrieve a fly.
  • J. Daily scoring ends for the contestant when his two flies become irretrievably lost. The contestant whose fishing has ended may continue to support his team member through advice and other encouragement.


  • A. To be counted in the score, the release of a caught trout must be witnessed by the Stream Monitor. Each of these trout will have a value of two points.
  • B. Each team will be allowed to select three (3) trout to measure during the day. All trout not selected for measurement will be released immediately, preferably without removing them from the water.
  • C. Measurement of trout shall be done by the Stream Monitor while the trout is in the water whenever possible. The Stream Monitor will measure the trout with the tournament ruler. Any trout which measures ½ inch or greater is rounded to the next full inch by the scoring committee. For example, a measurement of 21 ½ inches equals 22 inches for scoring purposes. The stream monitor will measure and record the exact fractional inch and allow the scoring committee to tabulate the final value. Fish are measured from the tip of the nose to the tip of the relaxed tail. The tail is not to be pinched.


  • A. A $1 penalty will be assessed for any fish killed or ruled by the Stream Monitor to be unable to survive. The fish will not be counted as a caught fish.
  • B. Any contestant that hooks his teammate, a competing team member or a stream monitor will be assessed a $10 penalty.
  • C. Any contestant that foul hooks a trout (on a location other than the trout’s mouth) by snagging or other hook set will be assessed a $1 penalty.
  • D. All penalties will be collected at the end of the fishing day and donated to Project Healing Waters as a contribution from that angler.
  • E. The Stream Monitor is responsible for monitoring teams for any rules violation or un sportsmanlike conduct and will notify the Rules Committee of any such occurrence. The Committee will rule on the violation within one hour after receiving it. Penalties will vary with the violation, from sanctions, to nullifying daily scores, to disqualification from the event. Violations will be considered only from the Stream Monitor who is responsible for the assigned fishing beats where the rules violation or behavior was observed.
These rules are subject to change and modification as directed by the 2-Fly Committee.
  • Harold Harsch

    Harold Harsh

    I joined the Marine Corps before I was out of high school and served for 8 years with tours of duty to Beirut and Grenada. What these men and women have given to our country goes beyond anything I could ever possibly give back to them. When Captain Ed asked me to help him help them, what else could I say but yes! I have the greatest respect for my fellow warriors and will do anything in my power to help them.Semper Fidelis,Harold Harsh, Spring Creek Outfitters** Harold guides many Maryland Rivers-- one of his favorites is the North Branch of the Potomac.

  • Eric Stroup

    Eric Stroup

    Project Healing Waters is quite simply one of the best organizations I deal with. Having had the honor of participating in several events, I must say selfishly, that I benefit more from our warriors than they from me. As a vet myself, their stories and personal triumphs are more rewarding than the fishing, and just having the opportunity to spend time with them is an honor that I will forever cherish. They are the true heroes of our society, may God bless them all.Eric StroupSpruce Creek Fly Shop Stroup is an independent guide, fly tier and author from Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania. He owns and operates Stroup Fly Fishing with his loving wife and business partner, Tracey L. Stroup. Eric is a signature tier for the Spirit River Group, a headline speaker for The Fly Fishing Show, an instructor for the USA Youth Fly Fishing Team and a Regional Coordinator for Project Healing Waters. Eric has authored Common Sense Fly Fishing (Headwater Books) River Pimp (Whitefish Press) and Catching Trout in Tough Conditions (scheduled for release in 2014 with Stackpole) .

  • Wes Hodges

    In 2002, I enlisted in the US Army and volunteered for the 82nd Airborne Division. For eight years, three of which were served overseas, I served with the finest military personnel imaginable. In the spring of 2010, I was medically discharged from the military due to injuries sustained while on active duty. Shortly thereafter, I found myself fishing the chalk streams of PA with Project Healing Waters. It was through PHWFF that I began to focus on my future rather than my past. This led me VA Tech where I studied smallmouth bass and muskie. In the fall of 2013, I graduated with a degree in International Relations and Spanish. Due to my passion for fly-fishing I started my own company, Bearded Lady Fly Fishing, immediately upon my departure from my studies. I could not have accomplished this new endeavor without the mentoring and support from PHWFF. This organization, its founder, and the volunteers will always be the example that I will strive to follow when providing my services to the fly-fishing community.   

  • Richard Farino

    “The son of an enlisted Navy gunner’s mate living in The Bronx for 33 years before moving to Washington D.C., I was an avid fly angler, fishing and guiding the fresh and salt waters of the NYC metro area, Catskills, and Pocono Mountains.  Working for Urban Angler for almost 15, I moved to Arlington, VA to run our second store, which was previously Angler’s Lie.  I had the pleasure of meeting and working with John Colburn, the former VP and a founding member of Project Healing Waters and was inspired by his devotion to PHWFF, so dedicated in fact that he would take public transportation from Walter Reed all the way to Arlington for fly tying supplies.

    I am proud to support PHWFF and look forward to continuing to volunteer and give back to our veterans.

  • MikeHatfield

    Mike Hatfield

    Over the years, I have been very fortunate with the opportunities that have come my way relating to fly fishing. These opportunities have led to priceless memories and new lifelong friendships. By far, the most rewarding opportunity has been my association with PHWFF. You have given me the opportunity to give something back to a group of men and women that deserve so much more than we can ever give them. Hopefully, as we all learn, laugh, and fish together, many new memories and friendships are made by these veterans and wounded warriors making their future a brighter and happier place.** Mike is a member of several industry Pro Staffs, a casting and fly fishing instructor, competition angler and a freelance outdoor writer with a passion for small streams and wild brook trout. He lives in Richmond, Virginia and has been instrumental in a major fundraising program for PHW at Military Commissaries through his company S&K Sales. You can reach Mike by e-mail at

  • John Gay

    John Gay

    Project Healing Waters means that our soldiers have a way to heal that is unique, therapeutic, and a learning experience that can be built on. I am proud to volunteer for many reasons. We owe a great deal to the men and women who serve our country, and helping them transition and recover through fly-fishing is a way to give back. Seeing friends and making new ones, the buoyant spirit of everyone, the fish caught, the fish missed, and the bonding among the participants make PHW a truly special organization.John GayTrout&About** John guides many Maryland streams such as the Gunpowder. He also takes clients to the famed Spruce Creek in Pennsylvania.

  • Michael Simon

    "For the past fifty-five years, Michael Simon has pursued trout, photographed and painted trout and written about his love of trout.  Simon has cast his home-tied flies to rising trout from New Jersey to Montana and even Afghanistan.  As a Navy veteran of the Viet Nam era, Simon used his several leaves to fish for trout in Japan, Sri Lanka, Bosnia and Slovenia.  

    Michael is looking forward to his first tour as a Project Healing Waters guide and will do all he can to share his passion and experience with a few brave Wounded Warriors."

  • WilliamHeresniak

    William Heresniak

    While driving along the highway by the entrance to the Rose River Farm this past January I spotted an enormous Bald Eagle. She was perched on one of the larger trees. It seemed as if even in the cold calm of winter, she was watching over that special place where the 2-Fly Tournament is held each year waiting for her sons and daughters to come fish.Each year at the 2-Fly has been special. It's a day I get to spend with the veterans, good friends and my daughter. One thing we need to remember not only during the tournament, but every day, is the soldiers that lost their lives defending our country.William Heresniak** Eastern Trophies guides most of the popular Rivers in Maryland and Virginia. They specialize in float trips for trout, smallmouth, and muskies.

  • Joel Thompson

    This is my first year as a guide for the Project Healing Waters 2-Fly tournament and I could not be more excited to be part of this great event. I am a native Montanan and come from a long line of Military men in my family and am looking forward to giving back to those who have served. I am a Fishing Outfitter and own and operate a guide service in western Montana called Montana Troutaholic Outfitter’s. Teaching people how to fly fish and seeing the joys it brings to them when they are able to put it all together and catch that fish is one of the most enjoyable things in the world to me. I am truly honored to be a part of this great event!

  • James Aliff

    I have worked in the fly fishing industry for 9 years and now manage the new Orvis store in Leesburg, VA. I have always been very fond of exposing others to fly fishing and teaching them the tricks of the trade. Thanks to both Jim Erickson and Douglas Dear I was given my first opportunity to participate as a stream monitor in a previous 2 fly tournament. At that tournament I met meet Chris Frost. I had a chance to spend some time on the water with Chris which was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in fly fishing. I look forward spending more time with and providing more support to Project Healing Waters

  • Bryan Wilson

  • Bryan Wilson

    I have loved fishing for as long as I can remember, but my experiences with PHWFF have been among my fondest memories of time on the water. My respect for the courageous veterans and the efforts of PHWFF make it an honor to support this organization. When Ed called and asked me to help serve as a guide for the 2-fly tournament I jumped at the opportunity to share my love and passion with the bravest men and women I have ever had the privilege of meeting. I am looking forward to an amazing day of fishing filled with old friends and new faces on the water that I call home.Bryan WilsonRose River Farm**Bryan guides at the Rose River Farm and offers brook trout and smallmouth guided trips on the waters of Madison County, Virginia. He also runs the fly fishing program for the University of Virginia's Outdoor Recreation Program.

  • Rob Snowhite

    Rob Snowhite

    My name is Rob Snowhite. I own and operate the Fly Fishing Consultant, in Alexandria, VA, focusing on fly fishing education and instruction in and around the Nation’s capital.I became involved with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing after transitioning to fly fishing as a full-time career. Volunteering at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital is my way of giving back to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their nation and our freedom. This is my first experience at the 2-Fly Tournament and I was deeply honored when Ed asked me to be a guide. Fly fishing is not a sport, but a way of life. It is a natural, therapeutic release from physical and mental trauma.I learned to fly fish in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains around Rose River Farm and consider the area my fly fishing home.Rob SnowhiteFly Fishing 401-6429

  • Phil Gay

    Phil Gay

    In terms of a profile I was a Naval Officer for 30 years and commanded USS John F Kennedy (CV-67) during the first gulf war. I founded Trout & About in 1994 and have been guiding and taking people on trips since that time. Since I was a Naval Officer myself I feel a natural affinity toward the wounded and especially to PHWFF.Phil GayTrout & About

Participant bios

Captain Kimberly Ramona Smith

USMC | Afghanistan

Kim was born in Granada Hills, CA.  She was raised by a single Mother and her Grandparents.  Since the age of 10, her dream was to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a U.S. Marine.  Her Father passed away when she was 10 and had served in the Korean War, becoming a POW and earning a Purple Heart. 

Her Brother enlisted in the Marine Corps and graduated boot camp from MCRD San Diego when she was 12 becoming an Infantry Machine Gunner, Recon Parachute Combat Driver 0331, 0326.

Kim graduated from Douglas High School, a small town in northern Nevada near Lake Tahoe.  Her step-father, who would become the closest thing to a father she ever knew, was also a former Marine (Infantry Rifleman / Infantry Unit Leader 0311, 0369) and taught Kim over the years military skills and weaponry.  Growing up Kim and her step-dad enjoyed the outdoors, camping, and fishing.  She also loved hunting, ranch work, played varsity sports in high school , and volunteer work.  Kim planned on enlisting in the Corps because that was the family tradition and she never imagined she could ever go to college or ever afford it.  No one in her family had ever gone to college before.   While in high school, she was accepted to the FBI Academy as an Explorer Cadet.  Through the Explorer program, she found out about Texas A&M and The Corps of Cadets.  

In Spring of 2000 Kim graduated High School early and enrolled at Texas A&M University with a scholarship of instate tuition. Realizing that anything is possible if you work real hard and believe.  While attending Texas A&M, she was a varsity rugby athlete and held a 40hr/wk job.  Kim graduated in 2006 with BS in Kinesiology and Nutrition.  Kim was also selected to play rugby for the U.S. Team from 2000-2006.

Kim attended 10 weeks of OCS in 2004 graduating with Honors.  Kim was commissioned as a 2ndLt 2006 through the Platoon Leaders Course and was sent directly to TBS.  Graduating from The Basic School in the top 10% of her class and receiving the Iron Susan Award for top Physical Fitness Award, she was given the opportunity to choose her Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).  She chose to become a 0402, Marine Logistics Officer.  Following graduation from TBS she attended her MOS school in Camp Johnson, NC and again graduated top 10% in the class, choosing Camp Pendleton, CA for duty station.

In 2008, she was transferred to Head Quarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, CA.  She was assigned as the 2nd Platoon Commander, Truck Company Bravo and assigned to 1ST Battalion 5TH Marines as the Motor Transport Officer and Platoon Commander.  In 2009, she was the first female to be deployed with an infantry battalion.  May 2009-Jan 2010 1stLt Smith was deployed with 1ST Battalion 5TH Marines to Helmand Provence Afghanistan, Operation Kanjar. 

After returning from her deployments she became the Executive Officer of Truck Bravo in 2010.  June 2010 she was frocked to Captain and was assigned as the Company Commander of Truck Company Alpha.  In May 2011 she was selected to be the Battalions Operations Officers for HQBN, 1ST Marine Division.  She finished her tour in 2011 at which time she was selected to attend Combined Captains Career Course Joint School in Fort Lee, VA. 

Graduating with honors and the top physical fitness award, she was selected for the billet of Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.  While at the Naval Academy she was a Professor for the Leadership Ethics and Law division and Coach for the Women’s Rugby Team.  

Capt Smith is currently 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 do 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.

She would like to thank all who give there time to helping wounded warriors like herself.  You make an immeasurable difference in our lives and often make the most unbearable days far more manageable.

Staff Sergeant (ret.) Brian Christensen

Army National Guard | Iraq

Brian was born and raised in Ottawa, Illinois and lived there until going to college.  He joined the Illinois Army National Guard at age 20 and served nine years, obtaining the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6) and functioning as a squad leader in a short range air defense company, supporting a mechanized infantry brigade combat team.  He was deployed with the First Infantry Division to support Operation Iraqi Freedom in October 2003 and served in an infantry role there for 15 months.  Upon returning home, he moved to Chicago, finished college, and married his beautiful wife, Nina.  He worked as a pharmacy manager for five years before moving to Colorado.

Brian was introduced to Project Healing Waters from the Vet Center in Colorado Springs.  He was able to participate in the beginner and intermediate fly tying classes over the winter of 2013.  The program gave him a hobby which he became incredibly passionate about.  Since then, he has become focused on giving back by spreading his enthusiasm for the organization.  He chose to help his fellow veterans and Wounded Warriors by volunteering as the Veteran Committee Chairman for Colorado Springs, CO. 

Project Healing Waters introduced a pastime into Brian’s life which was used as an effective tool to help him cope with the struggles of living with PTSD.  PHWFF is something he sincerely loves being involved with, a hobby to share with his family, but it also helps him get out of the house and interact with others. 

Thanks to Project Healing Waters’ fly tying class, his volunteer commitment, and the rod building class, Brian actively seeks out opportunities to engage with fellow wounded veterans, which is far from the Brian who came home from war.  Since receiving the gift PHWFF offers, he is calmer and more confident.  His wife says she has not seen him so focused and excited about something since returning home from Iraq.  He is incredibly grateful for having been given such amazing opportunities.    

Fire Controlman Second Class Andrew Laffey

U.S. Navy

Andrew was born in Plainfield, New Jersey and grew up in the small town of Martinsville, New Jersey. He enlisted in the United State Navy at the New York Naval Shipyard in March, 2010 after graduating from The College of New Jersey. Trained as a Fire Controlman, Andy served onboard the USS SAN JACINTO (CG-56) as a five inch gun and Harpoon Missile technician and operator. He’s currently stationed at the Norfolk Ship Support Activity and an active member of the Portsmouth VA Naval Medical Center Chapter where he was introduced to Project Healing Waters through the Navy’s Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor program. Not only does Andy make sure he participates in every chapter event he can make but he’s already encouraged his shipmates and coworkers to try fly fishing and participate in the chapter’s activities. His enthusiasm and gratitude are absolutely infectious.

Andy’s fondest fly fishing memory is fishing the deep, cold lakes of Maine with his Father, trolling streamer flies for Landlocked Salmon and Brook Trout in the 1937 Old Town Square Stern canoe they restored from the ground up. The boat has been in Andy’s family for three generations.

When asked what he’s most proud of in his life, his answer comes quickly and firmly: His Naval service to the United States of America, protecting the freedom that makes our country the best in the world.

Besides his love of fishing and anything outdoors, Andy enjoys “spending time with my beautiful wife Melissa”. “She has stood by my side and always been extremely supportive through all the challenges I’ve faced in my military career. I’m blessed to have her.”

Staff Sergeant Chris Matthews

USMC | Afghanistan

Staff Sergeant Matthews was born on 1 June 1979 in Anchorage, AK  and lived in multiple states along the West Coast. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in June 1998 from Eugene, OR and arrived at MCRD San Diego July 1998.

Following School of Infantry, he was assigned to 1st Battalion, 4th Marines in December 1998. During this tour, Staff Sergeant Matthews served as Rifleman, Automatic Rifleman, Scout Swimmer, Fire Team Leader, Squad Leader, and participated in various exercises. He also deployed twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Anaconda.

In November 2002, Staff Sergeant Matthews was transferred to G3 Training, MCAS Miramar, San Diego, CA, where he served as a Coach and PMI on the Rifle and Pistol Ranges. Staff Sergeant Matthews subsequently reported to Recruiting Station Seattle, WA, in October 2004 where he served initially as a Recruiter and later as a Recruiting Sub-Station SNCOIC. At his time on Recruiting Staff Sergeant Matthews received awards for Rookie Recruiter of the year and Recruiter of the Year for 12th Marine District.

Ordered to MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, CA, in January 2008, Staff Sergeant Matthews served as Platoon Sergeant, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. Staff Sergeant Matthews deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and the 31st Marine expeditionary Unit during his time at 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. During Staff Sergeant Matthews deployment to Afghanistan he was struck by four I.E.D. blasts resulting in T.B.I and suffers from short term and long term memory loss. Following the 31st MEU he volunteered and was assigned to Military Police Company, 1st Marine Division, as a Platoon Sergeant to stand up and train a Ground Combat Element for deployment to Bahrain.

Staff Sergeant Matthews currently serves as Company Gunnery Sergeant, Marksmanship Training Company, Weapons Training Battalion, Quantico, VA.

Specialist Kyle Pletzke

US Army | Afghanistan

I was born in Rockford, Michigan on July 22, 1991. I graduated high school in June of 2009. I took 1 year to decide what to do with my future. After much time to think I followed my dream of becoming a member of the military. I left for basic training October of 2010 and completed US Army infantry school in February of 2011 both of which took place at Ft Benning GA. I was then assigned to 3RD infantry division 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team 2nd battalion 7th infantry regiment B company. I was instructed on being a 240B gunner. After 7 months I was moved to HHC where I became the driver and personal security detail for the battalion XO. After showing an exponential amount of interest in my old job as a 240b gunner I was then assigned to A co another line company who I later deployed with in October of 2012 to Helmand province Afghanistan. On December 30 2012 we were returning from a mission and our driver lost control of the vehicle, I was ejected and then crushed by the vehicle rolling back onto me and breaking my pelvis and causing injury to my ankle and nerves in my right leg. I had surgery at camp bastion in Afghanistan and was then transported to the ICU in Landsthul Germany for one week until I was eventually brought to Walter reed where I spent 74 days in in-patient. I have now been at Walter reed for a total of 16 months.

I grew up in Michigan where I loved to river fish for trout and Fish lake Michigan for salmon and steelhead. Project healing waters has given me a whole new outlook on the way I fish and how to truly enjoy the little things while constantly challenging yourself to be better and learn more about the amazing sport of fly fishing.

Corporal (ret.) Mike Escarcida

USMC | Vietnam

 My name is Michael J. Escarcida and I am a Vietnam disabled veteran. My military service consisted of a tour with Mike Co, Third Battalion 4th Marines in Viet Nam from 1967 to 1968. While there I sustained several life threatening injuries and was evacuated to Japan because of the injuries and was then medivacted to Balboa Hospital at Camp Pendleton California. When I recovered from my injuries, I finished my tour of duty at Camp Pendleton, and then was released from service.  Because of these injuries, particularly the traumatic brain injury, I have suffered from severe PTSD and am 100% disabled.

Project Healing Waters has been a Godsend for me and my family. I had become an agoraphobic and had some very extreme anger issues. This has always been a burden, not only to me but for my family as well. When I first heard of this project I was a little reluctant to get involved, but when I did reach out, I found the respite I did not know was possible. Here I found others who could empathize and relate to what I had gone through and what I was going through. We shared stories, both good and ba,d and experienced a camaraderie that I did not know was possible.

Our fishing trips have been fantastic, not only for the recreational value, but for the peace that this program has brought me. While I still suffer from the residual effects of my injuries, I can now be a better husband, father and grandfather. I no longer experience extreme anxiety when I venture out and can relate to other individuals without wanting to lash out at them at minute infractions.

Sergeant Justin Burdette

US Army | Iraq & Afghanistan

Justin was born in Gallipolis, OH on August 27, 1986. He and his family lived in Point Pleasant, WV until he was two years old and they moved to Palm Bay, FL. Justin graduated from Palm Bay High School in 2005 and joined the Army nine months later. After completing basic and advanced training at Fort Benning, GA, Justin was stationed at Fort Stewart, GA with the 3rd Infantry Division. In October 2007, Justin deployed for the first time to Iraq. He served a 15 month tour near Baghdad. Upon returning, he married his wife, Beth. Shortly after getting married, he was transferred to Vilseck, Germany to be part of the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment. While stationed in Germany, Justin and Beth gave birth to their son, Corey. In June 2010, Justin was deployed for a section time – this time to Afghanistan. He served a 12 month tour in the Zabul province. After returning from his second deployment, Justin was transferred back to Fort Stewart.

In February 2013, Justin deployed for a third time and was sent to Wardak province of Afghanistan. Three months into the deployment on June 9, 2013, Justin and his platoon were on a dismounted patrol on a mountain when they received incoming. Justin was hit with a 107 rocket. The blast caused him to lose both legs below the knees. Within a week, he was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD where he is still receiving outpatient treatment. Since being released from the inpatient side, Justin has enjoyed getting back into his hobbies in an adapted form. He has been able to go golfing, fishing, hunting and shooting his compound bow all from a wheelchair. He is looking forward to his legs healing to the point where he can start learning to walk again on new legs.

Sergeant Major Jeremy Bruns

US Army | Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq & Afghanistan

Jeremy joined the Army in May of 1991. His first twelve years in the Army he was in the Airborne Infantry as a heavy weapons/anti-armor infantryman. The last ten years he has been with United States Special Operations Command as a Civil Affairs Soldier. He deployed to Bosnia 1995-96, Kosovo 1997, Macedonia 2001, Liberia 2003, Iraq 2004-5/2006/2007, Qatar 2008-09, and Afghanistan 2011-12.

Jeremy was injured November of 2012. He was struck by an intoxicated driver speeding and on the wrong side of the road. Jeremy was about to load his fishing kayak in the back of his truck when the drunk driver struck him and continue for another 60-80 feet pinning him between the two vehicles. He was medevac’d to Duke Hospital for his initial surgeries and eventually was moved to Walter Reed where he currently is an outpatient in rehab. He is a double above the knee amputee and a partial hand amputee on the right side.   

Jeremy has always been an avid fisherman. Growing up in Minnesota he targeted walleye and northern pike. Stationed in North Carolina he switched to bass and crappie. Fly-fishing was an activity he picked up post injury through Project Healing Waters. A new challenge that he enjoys immensely.

Staff Sergeant (ret.) Kevin Gabert

Army National Guard | Iraq

Kevin was born and raised in Kansas City Missouri. He joined the Army at the age of 20. He spent 4 years in the Army stationed at Ft. Hood Texas. He then spent the next 6 years in the Army Reserve where he obtained the rank of Staff Sargent. After a 10 year break in service, he joined the National Guard at the age of 41. He was then deployed to Baghdad Iraq 8 months later. After a yearlong tour, Kevin spent the next 3 years receiving, and recovering for operations. 

Kevin had always had a love for fishing but had lost all interest in the things he used to do when he was medically retired from the service back in 2009. Kevin vividly recalls when he was introduced to Project Healing Waters. He was at the Kansas City Boat Sport and Travel Show in 2013 where he was attending and met Bob Barnett . Mr Barnett told Kevin about PHW and how it was a way of helping wounded veterans engage and enjoy fly fishing. 

Kevin immediately fell in love with the program. It has given him a passion that he had lost since returning from Iraq. From the time of his retirement back in 2009 till 2013, Kevin had all but given up hopes of enjoying the things he used to do. PHWFF has given him a way of coping with his PTSD. He starts most every morning tying flies, or heading to the local pond and streams to fly fish. PHW has been a life saver for Kevin.  

Kevin also placed FIRST in the First Annual Project Healing Waters Fly Tying contest.

Staff Sergeant Bill Bingham

Army Reserves | Afghanistan

SSG William E. Bingham, Jr was born in Crailsheim, Germany February 13, 1954.  His father was retired from the U.S. Army and settled his family in Blackstone, VA where William lived until he joined the U.S. Army in 1972.  He travelled all over the world and remained in the U.S. Army until 1986 and then joined the Army Reserves after retiring.  He has served in the U.S. Army Reserves and is still serving in the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Eustis, Virginia having been injured when he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009.  

William has always been an avid fisherman and has always wanted to learn to fly fish. It was while serving in the Warrior Transition Unit that William became involved with Project Healing Waters and learned to fly fish.  He has enjoyed many hours of tying flies and fly fishing with Project Healing Waters and has become an accomplished fly fisherman.  

Corporal (ret.) Jake Blizzard

USMC | Gulf War

Jake was born  in Pennsylvania and raised in Delaware and lived there until entering the United States Marine Corps in 1990.  Jake served in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. He started as a Tank Mechanic, Tank Retriever, and ending up as Tank Driver obtaining the rank of Corporal (E-4) and functioning as a Section Head. After the opening battle operations of Operation Desert Storm Jake was assigned to 1st and 2nd Marine Division retrieving enemy and friendly vehicles. During this assignment, Jake’s camp was hit at night by an Iraq Scud missile.Gas alarms when off from NBC vehicles, Jake was thrown twelve feet thru the air and MOP gear was donned. Years later Jake was diagnosed with TBI, PTSD and chemical exposure from this event. After eighteen months this assignment Jake returned to Camp Leujuene. During PT exercises Jake severely broke his arm and was medically discharged. The Scud missile injuries were discovered at later medical examination. Jake has been receiving treatment for these injuries to this day. As many wounded warriors are, he is not comfortable revisiting combat events. Jake is married to his wife Cherrie for twenty three years who has been very supportive of Jake and other veterans. Jake has two beautiful children, Torrye and Maddy, and granddaughter Aubriella.

Jake was introduced to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing by Joshua Williams. Joshua was incidentally a prior participant in this event where Joshua’s flies became part of the Orvis line to this day. It would be safe to assume that “Josh’s White Lightning” may be present at this event again. I would check Jake’s fly box. Joshua and Jake’s current Program Lead have a challenge in keeping up with Jake’s passion for all things fly fishing! As well as does the many fine volunteers from the Salem VAMC Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing program.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing introduced a passion into Jake’s life which is used as an effective tool to help him cope with the daily struggles of living with PTSD. Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing activities provide a “goal” to get back in life following many past surgeries. 

Says Jake’s Program Lead: “Jake is a blessing to this Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing program. He is a gifted learner and gifted teacher in all that we do. Jake built his first fly rod recently, this program’s first fly rod and is helping another wounded warrior build his first fly rod. On an outing last October Jake caught his first ever trout that morning…by midday Jake had set his rod down to help another warrior catch her first ever trout, using techniques he learned just a few hours earlier. Much of the success this program currently enjoys is due in no small part to Jake’s big heart and mentoring way”.  

Specialist Robert Busch

US Army | Afghanistan

I had been in the Navy for five and a half years and now currently almost four years in the Army. I’m an 11B in the US Infantry and it’s something that I’m very proud of. I went to Afghanistan in Feb 2013 and work with Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) along with Special Forces. Our main mission was to help take out the Taliban. If we weren't doing our own missions then we were doing security for Combat Engineers when they were doing their route clearance or quick response force for everyone in our sector.  Along with all the other things we had to take care of as a light infantry unit, we also did the security for our Forward Operating Base (FOB) Airborne which was overseeing highway one and two.

On 06July2013 when I was in charge of check point two which is used to check the Afghanistan people who come by foot or vehicle as well as to make sure anyone else who goes through our check point are allowed to leave or get on our FOB. While I was talking to the bomb dog handlers a 107 rocket hit 10 feet from me. I was lucky because it hit head level at a barrier so most of the shrapnel missed me. Unfortunately, the blast itself did more damage.  Immediately, I got my soldier to a bunker and then made sure the dog handlers and translator were with us. I then called it up on my radio and at this point I thought I was okay but then lost conciseness and found myself in Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, MD.

I ended up with a sever Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), nerve damage and I’m partially blind in my left eye. 

Now because of all these problems, wounded warriors like myself, really need a healthy distraction from the problems we are dealing with.  One of those is Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF). I was lucky to have my old Sergeant, who as well as myself got hurt in Afghanistan, was going fishing with PHWFF.  He told me all about it and I just had to try it out.  PHWFF is a great program for us because it teaches everything that is involved in fly fishing as well as provides the gear needed to do the sport that we have grown to love. I hope that more wounded and disabled military service members and veterans will take this chance to fly fish with PHWFF!

Special Guests

ADM John C. Harvey, Jr., USN (ret.)

John C. Harvey, Jr, a retired Admiral in the US Navy, was sworn-in as Virginia’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security on 12 January, 2014. After graduating from the US Naval Academy in 1973, Admiral Harvey served for over thirty-nine years in our Navy. A nuclear-trained surface warfare officer, among his many sea-duty tours  Admiral Harvey were tours of duty as the reactor officer in the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier NIMITZ,  commanding officer of the destroyer DAVID R RAY and the cruiser CAPE ST GEORGE, and command of the THEODORE ROOSEVELT Strike Group during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Admiral Harvey also served in a variety of manpower and personnel policy positions while on shore duty and was appointed as the Navy’s Chief of Naval Personnel in 2005.

Immediately prior to his retirement from active duty in November, 2012, Admiral Harvey was serving as the Commander, US Fleet Forces Command  in Norfolk, Virginia where he was responsible for deploying ready, responsive and relevant Naval forces, wherever and whenever they were needed.

In March, 2013, Admiral Harvey was appointed by Governor Bob McDonnell to serve as the Chairman of Virginia’s Commission on Military Installations and Defense Activities. The Commission’s purpose was to examine in detail the likely impacts of future decreases in the nation’s defense budget and potential base closure/realignment actions on Virginia and recommend the best courses of action for the Commonwealth to respond to these impacts.  

As Secretary, Admiral Harvey is responsible for the Department of Veteran Services, has oversight of all veteran-related issues in Virginia and coordinates homeland security issues with the appropriate authorities at the state and local level within the Commonwealth and with the federal government. Admiral Harvey also leads Governor McAuliffe's initiatives focused on relationship building with our nation’s military services and the active duty military community to ensure Virginia remains the base and installation location of choice and is the most “military-friendly” state in the nation for the hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women and their families who serve throughout the state and call Virginia home.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Admiral Harvey attended the Phillips Exeter Academy, received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the US Naval Academy in 1973 and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in 1988. He and his wife, Mary Ellen, reside in Vienna, Virginia.

Major Nicholas “Nick” Warren

The Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be Major Nick Warren, USMC who serves as a Presidential Helicopter (Marine One) Pilot.

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, Major Warren began fly-fishing in 1998 when he met his girlfriend, now wife, Cheyanne, and they traveled to Vermont to visit her family.  He graduated the United States Naval Academy in 2001 and was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps and selected to become an AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter pilot.

He has amassed over 1500 combat flight hours over the course of 24 months, during (3) deployments to the An Bar province of Iraq from the summer of 2004 to the fall of 2008. Major Warren provided Close Air Support to Marines, Soldiers and Special Operations personnel from Baghdad to the Syrian/Jordanian border. At the conclusion of his Iraq deployments, Major Warren was hand-selected for service with Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) in Quantico, Virginia, for service as a Presidential Helicopter Pilot. He has served as a Marine One Pilot in 21 U.S. States and 15 Foreign Nations.

He is married to the love of his life, Dr. Cheyanne Warren.

Lefty Kreh

For over 50 Years, as an outdoor writer and fly fishing instructor, Lefty Kreh has touched more lives and converted more people to fly fishing than anyone ever has, or ever likely will. He has truly been a servant to the Fly Fishing community having given selflessly with his teaching skills, innovations and humor; adding immeasurably to the level of enjoyment and satisfaction that many of us have experienced from the sport of fly fishing.

Lefty Kreh proudly served our nation as soldier from 1942 to 1947 and is a combat veteran from the Battle of the Bulge. Upon his release from active duty, he discovered fly fishing and the restorative powers of clean, fishable waters; a discovery he now shares with new generations. For many years, Lefty has selflessly shared his talents and knowledge with our disabled active military and veterans. They eagerly seek him out, as much for his soldier's heart as his wisdom and his skill with a fly line. Thank you, Lefty, for your service to our nation and your enduring support of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and our men and women in uniform.

Lefty’s writing career began part time in 1952 with a newspaper outdoor column and has progressed to include articles in many of the major outdoor publications and fly fishing periodicals. He has authored, collaborated on, or contributed to over 20 books. Some of the most notable and most recent are: Fly Fishing in Salt Water, Fishing the Flats, Lefty’s Little Library, Lefty Kreh’s Longer Fly Casting, Lefty Kreh’s Ultimate Guide to Fly Fishing, Lefty Kreh’s Presenting the Fly and Basic Fly Fishing: All the Skills and Gear You Need to Get Started. His DVD’s include: Lessons with Lefty, and The Best of Lefty’s Tips, and his DVD on casting, Lefty Kreh on Fly Casting, is arguably, the best around.

Ed Jaworowski

Ed Jaworowski is a writer, photographer and an exceptional caster with a passion and a desire to share his skills with others. In addition to teaching casting and fly fishing for more than 30 years, Ed has authored 4 books – The Cast, Troubleshooting the Cast, PopFleyes and Essential Saltwater Flies. He also served as consultant and contributor to The Complete Book of Fly Fishing and his writings have been featured in over 200 publications and more than 20 angling periodicals here and abroad since 1977. He has more than 50 years of fly tying experience, has fished and conducted casting clinics around much of the western hemisphere, and is in demand as a speaker. Ed is making significant contributions to the design of TFO rods and related products and is assisting in the development of casting schools and other educational programs.

Lisa Mei Norton

Lisa Mei Norton A retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant, Lisa will be kicking off the 2-Fly by performing the National Anthem. Lisa Mei and her song writing partner BigDawg, a retired Marine Corps Officer, wrote the song "Healing Waters" in 2010 especially for Project Healing Waters. Being retired veterans, Lisa Mei and BigDawg, co-founders of BigDawg Music Mafia ( have "adopted" Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing as their favorite nonprofit organization for the great work PHWFF does helping our disabled military members and veterans begin the healing process and transition back to civilian life.


About Us

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings.

Follow Us


Website provided by generous support of

Backroung 1