Earlier this year, WQW shared a blog post written by alumnus Kyle Shackelford. Staff Sergeant Shackelford (USMC Ret) sustained brain and spinal injuries in Afghanistan. He was struggling with his career ending and living with his injuries. Kyle said he found a renewed sense of hope, passion and purpose through his WQW experience and fly fishing. Now Kyle gives back to other veterans by taking them fishing and starting a chapter of Heroes On the Water.
Recently another WQW alumnus shared with us his story of recovery through fly fishing. Staff Sergeant Ryan Caldwell (Army Ret) had over a decade of multiple deployments and received a Purple Heart for injuries resulting from a suicide bomber in Iraq. Retirement from the military left him with a loss of a mission and combat-related wounds left him angry, depressed and even suicidal. Attending a WQW experience in 2015, “rekindled his passion for the serenity found on the water and helped him begin to emerge” from his darkest days. Ryan founded Got Your 6 Fishing, a non-profit organization in Olympia, WA that takes veterans and their families on free guided fishing trips. Check them out on Facebook. We are proud of Kyle and Ryan and the many other WQW alumni that have found a renewed sense of purpose post-combat through giving back to others.