The national holiday, Memorial Day, honors the men and women who paid the ultimate price while serving in the U.S. Military. Dedicating a day to memorialize these fallen heroes is the least the rest of the country can do, especially considering the challenges facing our nation’s veterans, military families, and active service members. We honor those who have passed away and thank those who continue to defend our Nation. One such way the fly fishing community can positively impact members of the armed services is through the outdoors, which is a great place to foster community and healing. This is exactly what Trout Unlimited seeks to achieve through its Service Partnership program.
TU’s Service Partnership started in the midst of the COVID pandemic last July (2020) out of what was formerly the TU Veterans Service Partnership. Both iterations had an overarching mission: welcome those who make serious sacrifices for our country and their families into the TU community through a free one year membership with the benefits that come with a full membership. The goal being give local chapters more tools and incentives to engage with medical, fire-service, law enforcement and military communities. If you are a part of one of these communities or know someone who may be interested, here is the sign-up link,
“TU’s Service Partnership is a source of camaraderie, conversation, and recognition for those men and women of every gender, race or belief serving on the front lines and passionate about their communities and local watersheds,” said the Service Parnership’s Director, Mike Banaszewski. “We aim to bring those same service-oriented, culturally and racially diverse leaders into Trout Unlimited community for the long-term.”
In addition to welcoming military members and families into the TU community, the Service Partnership works closely with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. Nearly 80 TU chapters run programs through agreements with PHWFF, which 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.
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The TU Service Partnership has also hosted trips with active and retired Service members. Mike Banaszewski looked back on a recent trip: “So what do you get when a Navy veteran mixes together two Army veterans, two state troopers from different states — including one with his elementary school teacher spouse, and a fire fighter/paramedic? Apparently, you get one heck of a fishing trip. From Nov. 13-15, the Trout Unlimited Service Partnership proudly hosted its first annual steelhead trip to the Douglaston Salmon Run in beautiful Pulaski, N.Y.”
Visit the TU Service Partnership homepage for more information, or you can like the TU Service Partnership on Facebook and follow it on Instagram to stay up to date on the latest information. Thank you to all members of the Armed Services and those who sacrificed their lives to defend the United States of America.