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3rd Annual PACT Veterans Outdoor Family Day

Veterans Outdoor Family Day was an opportunity for Texas State University Student 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). Pact, from the Latin "pactum" is defined as an agreement between two or more parties.

Our PACT: Non-profits groups agree to team with military & veteran groups to work together to make life more satisfying and fulfilling for veterans and their families. That is our purpose.

To succeed at this purpose, we will:

    • Provide opportunities for veterans to experience outdoor activities
    • Help our veterans connect with other veterans
    • Assist veterans in integrating with the local civilian community

We believe that accomplishing these goals will improve the quality of life for veterans.

Veterans Outdoor Family Day was organized like an outdoor fest. At times, multiple events were taking place simultaneously and at other times we the participants focused on a single event. The following outdoor activities were be available during the day:

Restoration Ranch, Healing Waters, Sierra Club - Military, Takewondo, Yoga/Drums, Operation Comfort, Grace After Fire, Samaritan Center, Hays County Veteran Services, Veterans of Foreign Wars-San Marcos, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Veterans Land Board

Student Veterans Support American Widow Project

American Widow Project was founded in 2007 by Taryn Davis, of San Marcos, TX, after her husband, CPL Michael Davis, was killed in action in the Iraq war on May 21, 2007. Taryn Davis is a true gift to the grieving widows of military spouses.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing coaches and volunteers from Tutor Corps had the distinct honor to be companion/mentor/volunteer to four brave ladies with AWP, this past Saturday, 20 Jan. Participants tied White Wolly Buggers (check out photos), practiced fly rod casting, ate great food hot off the fire pit grill, joked around and laughed a lot. There was free time to wander, contemplate, and enjoy nature. Two ladies were treated to a river raft trip, and one caught a beautiful Guadalupe Bass while fly fishing with her new tied fly. A hike through a pecan forest, on the banks of the scenic San Marcos River, led to a pool of clear cool water where the ladies fly fished, some for the first time.

A special “thank you” to the volunteers that made this event possible.

Saturday Fly Fishing with Healing Waters

On Saturday, Jan 27th, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and many volunteers from Texas State University including students, student veterans, staff and faculty hosted a FREE Pancake Breakfast and Introduction to Fly Fishing Spring Kick-off Event. With the San Marcos River in the background, over 30 student veterans and their families learned the art of casting and fly tying with coaches from Central Texas Fly Fishers!

Food - Fun - Fish - Friends

We continue to express our gratitude to all the volunteers and Chris & Stacy George for their generosity and hospitality.

Fun Fish Day for SMCISD

Volunteers hosted a Fun Fish Day for SMCISD kids with special needs at AE Wood Fish Hatchery this past Friday. Participating children learned how to lure rainbow trout into taking the bait. Once successful, volunteers cleaned and packaged the fish to share during the child’s next family meal. The event was a tremendous success as evidenced by the abundant smiles and many take-home bags.

A special “thank you” to the team of volunteers from Texas State University (Department of Health and Human Performance, VATS, and Tutor Corps) Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Program, and the Central Texas Fly Fishers Club including Maria Bernal, TK Phelps, Glen Stevenson, Sean Weber, Mike Schlimgen, Mike Ducey, Gordon Holt, Scott Henize, John Cruz, Patrick Brown, Blake Holbrook, Dr. Lyn Litchke, and David Beadle. Enclosed are a few of the pictures.

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.