Bill Johnston shows off a catch at Rose River.
Bill Johnston, with cohorts, shows off a catch at Rose River.
Project Healing Waters takes injured veterans from Walter Reed Medical Center out fishing, both for recreation and for recovery. The effort began when retired Navy Capt. Ed Nicholson, an avid fly-fisherman, realized the activity might be therapeutic for wounded members of the military. This week, we'll hear from participants in the program during a day of catching trout at Rose River Farm in Virginia.
Though many of the participants in Project Healing Waters were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan, former Marine Sgt. Bill Johnston was wounded in Vietnam. Fishing is among several activities he participates in or helps organize. He started wheelchair basketball games for fellow military vets at Walter Reed, and is also working on a rowing program.
"Once [veterans] get doing something outdoors and learn they can get through the woods or down to the river, it just changes everything," Johnston says.
Johnston cites a motto from Disabled Sports USA: "If I can do this, I can do anything," adding, "We get where we need to go, whether it's on the legs, in the chair, or on the ground — however it has to happen."
This series was produced by Barrett Golding of Hearing Voices, a collective of independent radio producers.