Project Healing Waters

By: Jummy Olabanji Email
By: Jummy Olabanji Email

May 20, 2007

More than 30 soldiers returning from war left their rehabilitation at Walter Reed and made the trip down to Madison County on Sunday for some “Natural Healing.”

“Project healing waters has been a life saver for so many people at Walter Reed,” said S.F.C. Diane Cochran, one of the wounded veterans.

“It really brought me back from a deep dark place in my recovery," said Captain Eivind Forseth. "When I first got hit, I was very angry. I got depressed, and it got a hold of me. When I got involved with this program, it brought me back from that. It really saved my life. It gave me a new mission.”

Forseth also has a new life story, one of overcoming a tragic event and turning it into something positive. He is healing in every way possible.

“This is about emotional and physical, and believe me, the emotional is just as important as the physical," said Forseth. "Being out here on the water in the beautiful place like this is just lifetimes away from the danger zone and places that we associate with misery, so for us, this is very therapeutic.”

Cochran says that fishing has physically helped repair a lot of the nerve damage she lost when she was injured. It also repairs a lot of the emotional damage she's endured since then.

“Anybody who comes in from Iraq or Afghanistan, they’ve got a certain level of tension just from being in the environment they were in," she said. "Just being out, away from the hospital in the environment that just lets us relax, lets you forget everything else.”

Those who help coordinate this project say it’s more than just a day of fishing. No matter your political affiliation, supporting the troops for them is a “no-brainer.”

“It's a win-win situation whether you support what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. These young men and women that have come back wounded deserve all the support we can give them,” said fly fishing instructor Dusty Wissmath.

“We are very proud of what they are doing and we want to help them and help them in their recovery," said the president of Project Healing Waters Ed Nicholson. "They gave a lot more than most people give.”

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