Julie KeeneIndustry Coordinator

I was born in Germany to an ARMY enlisted Military Policeman. My father served twenty two years in the military so I can say I was born to serve my country. My family traveled all over Germany. We were states side in Fredericksburg Virginia for my father’s last tour of duty therefore I attended the local schools. When I turned eighteen I was told I would not be joining the Military so I did just that. I joined the ARMY and was a Military Policewoman. After the Military I returned to Fredericksburg area and joined the ranks of the Fredericksburg Police Department. I spent twenty eight and a half years serving my community and retired in 2016. I enjoyed everything about being an Officer but mostly it was the excitement that kept me on board.

Approximately five years ago I was diagnosed with Lyme disease and was having a hard time when I was told that I needed an outlet. I kept seeing a Jeep around town displaying the registration of flytyer (Jim Benzinger), and it reminded me of a trip I took with a friend to West Virginia. My girlfriend was dating a fly shop owner, so of course we had the best care ever. A short time later I joined the Falmouth Flats Fly Fishermen Group in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

I first became aware of PHWFF approximately five years ago when the Falmouth Flats Fly Fishermen had an event for PHWFF on the Rappahannock River for the yearly Shad run. I was immediately taken back by Marty Laksburg the Program Lead for the Quantico Program. I observed how he and Bob Gartner of the Ft. Belvoir Program worked together to take care of all involved in the event. They checked in with the warriors and made sure they all had what they needed to catch fish. I knew then I wanted to be a part of the group. I spent the rest of the afternoon watching Jim Benzinger tying fly’s and visiting with the group. The rest is history. I joined the Quantico Chapter to learn all about tying fly’s and fishing but soon wanted to do more. In April 2016 the PL and Assistant PL were not able to attend the NPR so I went down to Florida to represent our program. This was such a hardship to go to sunny Florida. I met our Regional Coordinator from the National Capital area George Gaines. I told him how much PHWFF has changed my outlook and how when I retired in June that I wanted to do more with PHWFF. Shortly thereafter I was offered the Deputy Regional Coordinator position for the National Capital area. I quickly said yes. I recall George telling me he wanted me to meet a few folks at HQ so I met him weeks later in La Plata Maryland for a walk through. Within a short few fifteen to twenty minutes I was offered a job as the part time Industry Coordinator. After Col. D was brought on board I was offered a full time position as the Industry Coordinator. We have over two hundred programs so I can say I am a professional shopper for fly fishing gear and I love what I do. I enjoy doing this work and light up when telling others about all the good things we do for our participants. I work with a group of people who give one hundred and ten percent every day to fulfill our mission – which is to serve our wounded warriors and veterans. WE at PHWFF change lives every day, and I am blessed to be part of such a winning team.

Oh and just to toot my own horn I was the 2016 Women’s Albacore Festival Winner – 2nd year at the event.