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Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation offers family program for veterans

Posted at 3:22 PM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 18:08:37-04

BELGRADE — The Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation has developed a pilot program, centered around families and fly-fishing.

Founded in 2007, Warriors and Quiet Waters has been dedicated to reintegration and reconnecting post-9/11 combat veterans with their community and nature. Eric Hastings, the founder, served in the Vietnam War and discovered the healing done while casting a fly rod.

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The Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation has developed a pilot program, centered around families and fly-fishing.

“It is a skill that they can take home with them, they can focus on catching a fish instead of anything else going on in their head,” Audrey Chorak said.

Audrey Chorak is the Deputy Director of Programs for Warriors and Quiet Waters and expresses the positive response and outlook that the ‘Family FX’ program has had on their participants.

“We did have some families mention, how it was nice for their kids to see that their parents aren’t the only ones impacted by injuries, either mental or physical,” Chorak said.

Families like the Zieglers’. Both Susan and her husband have served in the armed forces; Susan being honorably discharged from boot camp after an injury, and her husband deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“He was wounded in Afghanistan and received a purple heart there, and was medically retired,” Ziegler said.

Following his retirement, the two visited Quiet Waters Ranch, to enjoy the serenity of Montana and of course, the fly fishing.

“We did have some families mention, how it was nice for their kids to see that their parents aren’t the only ones impacted by injuries, either mental or physical,” Chorak said.

With the addition of the family program, their daughter, Emma, was able to join them on an adventure to learn a new skill and make new friends, Ziegler said.

“It’s not common to have your dad to be the stay-at-home person in your family. She made a really good friend there, from Oklahoma, whose dad is a triple amputee, and they still talk today,” Ziegler said.

The program director said it best when he said, ‘Quiet Waters Ranch really felt like home when the families were here’, Chorak said.