In honor of our 10-year anniversary, we’re interviewing individuals who have been involved with Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation in different capacities, some of whom have been involved since the inception of the Foundation in 2007. Today, we’re interviewing Jesse LeNeve, a volunteer and a fly fishing guide with Warriors and Quiet Waters.

In the interview below, Jesse shares with us his journey to Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation, and the joy he gets from being a part of the team.

To provide some context for our audience, tell me who you are, a little bit about your background, and how you are involved with Warriors and Quiet Waters.

My name is Jesse LeNeve, and I’m a guide for Warriors and Quiet Waters. I got involved because I saw an ad eight years ago looking for guides for the program, and I jumped on board right afterward. I’ve been volunteering and guiding ever since.

The reason I am tied to the mission of WQW is because I personally find peace and tranquility on the water, and I like to help others find the same.

Why fly fishing? What is it about fly fishing that provides healing?

You lose your mind (in a good way) when you’re fly fishing. You’re focused on a small little task like tying the right fly or making the right knot. You’re doing 15 different things all at the same time, and so it takes a lot of skill and patience. For skilled military men and women, the skills, tools of the trade, and the learning aspect required for fly fishing take time, but they seem to really enjoy this part of it.

What is the best part about being a guide with Warriors and Quiet Waters?

I think expanding my relationship to the program and everyone that’s involved, from the moms to the shuttle drivers, over the last eight years has been the best. If I hadn’t volunteered, I wouldn’t have known these people.

WQW is a big family, and every single person is on the same page about that. It’s easy to walk in the door each time because there are always lots of smiles and handshakes, and there are never goodbyes, only see-ya-next-times. Staying connected to each of the people in the program after it’s over is by far the best thing.

The other thing that is really moving is the thank yous that I have gotten after a Fishing Experience (FX). These thank yous from warriors are always all true and from the heart.

For me, it’s always been such an honor and privilege to help, and to allow someone else to have sense of peace and quiet that you get on the water, just for a moment.

As you’ve watched warriors go through the program, what indicators signal that this program is working?

I’ve heard so many accounts of folks that have come through the program, and they’re still fly fishing and are avid fisherman now. Some of them take their passion for the sport to the extent of going through a guide program or finding local waters to fish. It’s really neat to watch all of that, and it’s a rewarding to see the amount of enthusiasm seen taken beyond the program.

It really signals to me that it’s not just a fishing trip — many of the warriors use the skills they learned at WQW for all kinds of recreational activities including fishing and hunting.

What is your hope for WQW going into its 10th year?

The goal to me remains the same, which is to showcase fly fishing and all it has to offer, provide a new skill set, and help participants in the program gain confidence on the water. I’m truly looking forward to the next 10 years.

Thank you, Jesse for everything you do for Warriors and Quiet Waters!