In 2007, when Warriors & Quiet Waters (WQW) was founded, our mission was to provide therapeutic recreation and rehabilitation to wounded servicemen and women through the medium of fly fishing in beautiful, serene southwest Montana. We were collectively motivated to prove to desperately wounded and still bleeding veterans of combat service that life was worth living. I had never seen this done for combat vets before. It worked, though our proof was largely based on Warrior anecdotes and volunteer testimonies.
It has been 17 years for WQW — a time marked by political shifts, military force drawdowns, reinforcements, further drawdowns, and even an ignominious exit. The years were full of turbulence for all concerned; yet, WQW’s devotion to fulfilling its mission remained stalwart. Over the years, WQW has evolved programmatically and operationally, and its ability to evolve has informed its success.
In 2020, Colonel Brian Gilman, USMC (Ret.), assumed the role of WQW’s Chief Executive Officer. He is a 27-year, combat-proven veteran; smart, widely experienced; a proven leader from lowest to highest levels; a Butte native; and a special warfare infantryman and intelligence officer. Add to his quiver: an expertly led diverse team of dedicated professionals, an equally committed cadre of volunteers and donors, and a gifted National Advisory Board and Board of Directors that helps build and direct thoughtful policies.
The fundamentals of our founding programs are deeply embedded in today’s WQW. The Warrior’s well-being is always our first priority. We leverage the power of nature. We hew to a gold standard. We catch — and quickly release — with wet hands and respectful love. Our “Moms” (and “Dads”) cook, feed, serve, and unconditionally love our Warriors, guides, and volunteers. And we now deliberately guide Warriors to thriving lives through a year-long program called Built for More, with in-person programs – backpacking, fly-fishing, ice fishing, saltwater fishing, and more — bookending their experience.
I’m reminded of what David said in Psalm 23: “…he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” Quiet Waters in the name, Warriors & Quiet Waters, is an understated reference to the 23rd Psalm. WQW’s name remains valid. The programs are transformative. Unconditional love makes all the real change possible. Meanwhile, real change is being measured more accurately and meaningfully, resulting in a significant impact on Warriors’ lives – with WQW’s Built for More program, Warriors move beyond healing, to thriving.
With all the underlying measurable program and operational growth over 17 years, now is the time for a new visual identity – a new brand – (including a new logo) that reflects the evolution WQW has undergone. After all, Semper Fidelis, my friends! Always faithful! As we step off together, we continue to earn your special trust and confidence.
Eric Hastings, Col, USMC (Ret.), Co-Founder, Member National Advisory Board
Please join us on Tuesday, July 11 for a public unveiling of our new brand. RSVP here.