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Saturday Fly Fishing II with Healing Waters

Saturday, July 24th we completed our second summer Saturday Veteran Fly Fishing event.  Dr. Milt Nielsen led the charge, arriving before sunrise at Tip’s Turf. Once again, he cooked an amazing pancake breakfast for what turned out to be a big crowd. Coaches from Central Texas Fly Fishers, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, volunteers from the community, and veterans combined to make the Saturday Fish one of our most successful events with more than 40 in attendance. After breakfast and a quick “Happy Birthday” to VAC council member Ross Wood, veterans learned the skill of fly casting from our coaches. From there, they were shown the fine art of fly tying, learning to tie the Wooly Booger fly by Gordon Holt. The day ended as it started . . . with camaraderie, laughter, and gratitude for stealing some time on a beautiful piece of land surrounded by those that care a great deal about our nation’s heroes.

A special “thank you” to Chris George (land owner), Dr. Milt Nielson & Zulma Van Aacken (breakfast), Blake Holbrook (event leader), and of course Mike Schlimgen and the entire fly-fishing coaching team.

Saturday Fly Fishing with Healing Waters

As the sun rose at our home waters along the San Marcos river, veterans were greeted with the smell of pancakes, sausage and coffee graciously prepared by Dr. Milt Nielsen. It was great way to start what turned out to be a magnificent day. Central Texas Fly Fishers provided coaches to teach our (# of participants), including seven first-timers. The veterans were taught the basics of fly-tying and casting at our stocked pond and as the sun continued to rise over Martindale, most found their way to the cool waters of the San Marcos. Our newest veteran and one that had never fished before caught the fish of the day, a spotted gar. As everyone gathered around to say goodbyes, most veterans had one simple question: “When are we going fishing again?”

Restoration Ranch

VATS and Tutor Corps teamed up with Hill Country High School to volunteer at Restoration Ranch on Friday, June 2nd.  Student veterans and high school students worked side-by-side supporting the ranch in their newest addition for veterans, a 60 x 80 covered arena.  This outstanding addition is something to see and one can only imagine the difference this facility will make in the lives of veterans.   A special “thank you” to all the Texas State University veterans that volunteered:  Brian Griffits, Raymond Stockstad, Allison Poteet, Marysol Frost, David Beadle, and TK Phelps. 

To learn more about the unique work Restoration Ranch does with veterans click:

P.A.C.T. Veterans Family Day

Veterans Family Day was an opportunity for Texas State University veterans, and their family members, to discover outdoor activities that are available to them, both at the university, and within the local community.  This activity was part of a larger teaming endeavor, called Positive After Combat Transition-Outdoors (PACT). 

This event was truly a Team of Teams effort. Without all of those involved it would not have been possible. We would like to extend our thanks and recognize the sponsors that made this event possible:

Tip’s Turf ; Fushak’s BBQ ; Project Healing Waters ; Texas Vet Outdoors ; Restoration Ranch ; Cabela’s ; Military Veteran Peer Network ; Martindale Fire Department/EMS ; Grace After Fire ; OP SCUBA ; Veterans Alliance at Texas State ; Veterans Initiative ; SHARE Veterans Guiding Veterans ; Tutor Corps; Ronin Veterans Network ; Career Services ; Student Diversity and InclusionHill Country Christian School

Memories from My Duffel Bag Videos

Opening Ceremony Videos

Closing Ceremony Videos

Peace Paper Project

Texas State student veterans participated in the Peace Paper Project from April 3rd to April 7th. The activities included four days of papermaking, an Artist Talk by Peace Paper Project founder Drew Matott, and a day of bookbinding. 

Veterans were able to take old, unserviceable uniforms and turn them into pulp from which they could make paper. The project also created the opportunity for student veterans to engage with non-veteran students. Anyone was allowed to make paper, so numerous non-veteran students would come by to make paper and would engage with veterans about their military experience.