At Warriors and Quiet Waters (WQW), we’re so fortunate to share Montana’s beauty and blue ribbon waters with combat veterans from across the country on every Fishing Experience (FX). We remain grateful for WQW’s dedicated volunteers who make it possible for warriors to find hope and healing through the meditative act of fly fishing. Today, in the spirit of celebrating the Warriors and Quiet Waters family, we wanted to share the story of two of our volunteers, Marie and Trey Gacke. Below, Marie shares why she and Trey continue to volunteer with WQW.

My husband, Trey, and I decided our dual-military lifestyle wasn’t conducive to…well, marriage. Trey came from Army Infantry and had three deployments under his belt; meanwhile, I served as an Air Force Flight Nurse and deployed twice before we agreed something must change. We’d seen enough, we’d certainly been apart enough, it was time.

As we started fresh in Montana, we knew precisely two people – Mike and Barbara MacLeod, owners of StudioMacLeod and WQW’s thoughtful photographers since 2013. On the inaugural FX of 2015, Mike offered our help to his buddy, Lee Rimkus – a longtime friend to WQW (and unofficial head of the volunteer support crew). For Trey and I, volunteering to serve people who spoke our language and “got it” was a natural fit.

Volunteering for Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation became a way for me to discover hope and happiness in my service for others. You see, aeromedical evacuation doesn’t have much closure. We would pick up the wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, try to keep them alive while we flew to Germany, and go back again in a day or so. What happened to the patients I cared for? I never found out.

Now as WQW volunteers, the roles Trey and I play have a significant impact upon the minds of both our Veterans and their spouses. We facilitate the best possible week for participants (for some, it’s the first in a very long time) and help them to create happy memories. The best part for me? I have the opportunity to witness the continued healing process of post-9/11 combat veterans.

Marie and Trey Gacke recently made their home in Lewistown, MT. Marie works as an orthopedic/trauma nurse at St. Vincent Healthcare with fellow WQW volunteer, Sarah Smith. Trey is a game warden for Fish Wildlife and Parks in north central Montana. Their favorite activities include hunting, fishing, kayaking, and exploring new places (and restaurants!). We look forward to working with Trey and Marie when they serve as co-leaders on a Couple’s FX in 2017.

P.S. Are you interested in volunteering with Warriors and Quiet Waters during a 2017 Fishing Experience (FX)? Applications will be sent out in January, so click here to join our volunteer mailing list and to receive the application when it’s released.