Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is pleased to introduce its latest international affiliate organization, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Australia (PHWFFA).
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Australia
The official introduction of PHWFFA to the general public will be July 29, 2012 in Melbourne, Victoria.
“It is a privilege to be able to introduce PHWFF’s distinct service of therapeutic fly fishing and fly tying to the military service members and veterans of another allied nation,” said PHWFF Founder and President Ed Nicholson. “Australia joins our other international affiliate, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Canada. We also maintain an association with Fishing For Heroes in the United Kingdom.”
PHWFF provides fly fishing, fly casting, and fly tying instruction for wounded military personnel and disabled veterans through various programs across the nation. Since its inception, PHWFF has been helping disabled active duty personnel and veterans overcome the obstacles associated with their injuries and disabilities.
“Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Australia is about coming together to show our support for our wounded” said PHWFFA President Peter West. “It’s about the ANZAC spirit, it’s about showing our diggers we will always support them; that we will remember those who have come home, as well as those that have made the ultimate sacrifice,” he added.
West said that PHWFFA programs are working in collaboration with the Australian Casting Federation (ACF) and their affiliated fly fishing clubs, much like programs in the U.S. work with the Federation of Fly Fishers and Trout Unlimited chapters.
Just as Walter Reed Army Medical Center, then in Washington, D.C., served as the flagship program for the start of PHWFF in the U.S., Townsville, Queensland is host for the first program in Australia.
“Townsville is a garrison town with a military base and military hospital treating a majority of our Afghanistan casualties,” noted West. He added that over a dozen service members and veterans are already waiting to start meeting with the North Queensland Fly Fishers and get the program underway, and that number is growing as word spreads.
Australian troops have served with distinction alongside the United States in every major conflict since the 1st World War; WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other conflicts like Somalia. Australia Defense Department officials estimate that between 15 and 20 percent of deployed Australian military personnel, could face issues with PTSD. For Australia’s Vietnam-era veterans, that figure reaches 56 percent.
“Australia has approximately 1300 wounded plus a large number suffering from PTSD, in addition to many of our Vietnam veterans that have fallen through the cracks,” said West, adding that the time has come for introducing Project Healing Waters to Australian veterans and service members.
“It’s about giving our warriors the dignity they deserve and the chance to do whatever they choose. Through the therapeutic value of fly fishing no man will be left behind!” he added.