Give!: Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.  – Doreen Bronner is retired from the Air Force where she worked for more than 20 years.

“There’s so much going on when you fly fish. Stripping in the line, learning about the bugs, and it just gets me out of myself,” Bronner said.

Time out on the water, fly fishing with other veterans, is what brings her peace.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is a program that started in 2005 at Walter Reed Hospital in the nation’s capital.

It’s now nationwide offering instruction and all-expense paid day trips and more for disabled veterans and active military.

Kiley Battaglin is the program lead for Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing in Colorado Springs.

“When you go out on one of our trips it’s all about you,” Battaglin said. “We spoil you rotten and that’s the way it should be they got very few of those days when they were in the military.”

While mastering the skills of the sport is the goal, it’s really just an added bonus. It’s really the interaction at meetings, during classes, and on extended trips that provides the most healing.

“This is a coping mechanism. It’s a combination of water, beautiful places,” Battaglin said. “Basically, being around other vets who understand where you’ve been and where you need to be.”

Bronner agrees.

“This group transcends the hurt and pain you feel after you’ve been hurt or disabled or whatever and it transcends that hurt and pain to healing,” she said.

Common practice in fly fishing is to catch and release what you reel in.  What these veterans and military members get from these outings is something they’ll take with them their entire life.

>> Learn more and Give! at

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