Fishing For Healing

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KGWN) Going fishing to "get away from it all" is nothing new. But for some, the peace of fishing isn't just relaxing.

Duane Cook works with the Platte River Program of Project Healing Waters - working with veterans struggling to get back into society. For these fishermen the opponent isn't the fish .the opponent is life after war. One of those veterans Duane helps is Lee Maddox. Lee was a sergeant army, and saw combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"We were out there looking for IED's…and we found 52 of 'em while we were out there.” Lee explains, “Seventeen of them found us first."

Like many others, when lee came home, he brought bits of the war back with him. This is where project healing waters comes in .where the focus of fly tying, the rhythm of fly *fishing and the sanctity of nature allow warriors to find peace.

Healing Waters began in Washington, DC in 2005. It was so effective and popular the non-profit organization spread throughout the nation and into Wyoming.

But the project isn't about catching fish. Lee says that is just a bonus. It's about finding places like the pond we visited near Curt Gowdy State Park.

"Coming to a place like this you listen to the breeze, just nature around you,” Lee said after the trip, “There's nothing happening here."
That nothingness is what Lee enjoys, being able to clear his mind of war and heal the scars of the past.

"It's something about the water.” Lee says, “Like our namesake says, you know the water holds no scars. When you walk out there you can turn around behind you and the water shows nowhere that you've been.”

The end result is an effect that can rarely be duplicated for these veterans. Lee says it leaves him feeling calm and genuinely happy. They come away from the experience knowing they can always come back to a water that holds no scars.