Outdoorsmen sponsor fishing weekend for disabled vets
Nine distinguished visitors arrived at Elk Springs Resort on June 11. All combat veterans, seriously wounded in action, the visitors came for a weekend on the Elk River to relax and catch some fish. Two wives also were able to attend.
Tri-state Sportsmen, an internet-based association of outdoor sports enthusiasts from West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, made the event possible. The group raised more than $2,500 to pay for the outing and also made a donation to a veterans support group. Elk Springs Resort owner Darren Dean allowed a 30% discount for the group.
This is the second year in a row Tri-State Sportsmen has sponsored a fly fishing weekend for disabled vets.
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) coordinates the fishing trips. PHWFF was founded in 2005 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to assist in the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled military personnel through fly fishing education and outings.
Robert Lunceford manages Elk Springs Resort and founded Tri-State Sportsmen in 2000. The association operates a website which outdoor enthusiasts in the tri-state area use to exchange information and organize fishing and hunting outings.
Lunceford said the group decided to expand its purpose about two years ago.
"We're just a bunch of sportsmen who get together and talk about fishing and hunting," he said. "It started out as a message board about 10 years ago and just here in the last couple years, we started doing things for other people and having events like Healing Waters and all that," he said. "That's what we're going to continue doing."
Lunceford said his girlfriend, Sharon Hoke, and Tri-State Sportsmen members Steve McCormick and Alan Taylor, of Huntington, were instrumental in fundraising and provided crucial assistance over the weekend.
"Those three right there stuck out and they helped the most with the cooking and making sure everyone was coordinated to have a fishing partner and did some teaching and all that," he said.
River guide Sam Knotts, of Pickens, helped out a lot, too, the manager said.
"He donated a guided fishing trip and he helped out a lot here with the soldiers for the last two events," he said.
Lunceford said Tri-States Sportsmen is planning another fishing weekend for disabled vets in September.
For more information on Tri-States Sportsmen, see www.tristatesportsmen.com. For more information on Project Healing Waters, see www.projecthealingwaters.org.