It is nice to hear back from Wilderness North, and also know that you care enough to take the time to hear our stories. It means a lot to me and probably all the crew because since my return from my fourth tour in Afghanistan I never got this kind of attention. Words cannot describe how much I appreciated getting an email about my personal experiences, how I feel about my time spent up north, and how I am doing…
Well for me Project Healing Waters (PHW) came as a surprise. My girlfriend who retired from the Forces a year and half ago but still works for the military as a EO, planed this trip from me with the help of some friends who were struggling with similar issues and had positive experiences with PHW the previous year. Soldier On was also involved with this trip. When I found out about the trip I couldn’t believe my ears! At the time I was pretty down; having been officially diagnosed with PDTS, OSI, and major depression in December.
I started fishing when I was 7 years old. Where I am from (Montreal), the fishing was in the St-Laurent River where the fish has three eyes. I had my share of fishing when I was in B.C. for five years; all kinds of salmon, sharks, halibut, dolly vardens, and steal heads in the winter. When I got back to Ontario in 1996 fishing was not interesting anymore. I am sure you understand why, since I didn’t fish much, I got into other activities and stepped away from angling even though I live 15 min from St-Laurent River -and no, fish here don’t have 3 eyes lol.
Since I have been on the trip to Wilderness North with PHW, all I do is fly-fish, sometimes every day, a little bit excessive but hey, I’ve been off work since April so I have all the time in the world. The trip north was amazing and outstanding, everybody at the base, the pilot, and all the staff at Striker’s Point including lovely Deborah (Allan’s sister). I was overwhelmed by the welcome I received, and my 4 days at the lodge. I sure didn’t expect treatment like that! The food was outstanding, the cabins extremely clean and comfortable, the service was a five star… some places down south don’t even come close to the service we all had. Every day was a surprise with all big smiles and everybody was nice to me. The shore lunch was the cherry on the ice cream sundae, very well organized and the fish was sooooooooooooo good.
It might sound exaggerated but after my trip I feel better in my head and my heart; I am more happy; I have a new network of friends; and every day I see and share similar experiences with others at Project Healing Waters. I am not completely healed but I am headed in the right direction. My goal now is to get better and when that’s accomplished I would like, in the near future, to apply to be part of Wilderness North staff and be involved in helping other veterans deal with their wounds.
I don’t know how much I can thank Wilderness North and all the staffs for their kindness, generosity, and services; all that with a big smile. I know that all the staff worked hard and long hours to accommodate everyone, us veterans, and make our stay unforgettable and forever unique. Thanks again, it was a pleasure to meet all you guys, and hopefully I will get the chance to see you again.
Marc, Project Healing Waters 2012