Fishing to Cope with Physical, Emotional Challenges

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POLK TOWNSHIP -- A group of veterans spent the day fly fishing on Wednesday as a way to heal from physical and mental challenges.

The group meets monthly and is looking for more veterans to join in on the hobby.

The veterans got a ride from the Veterans Hospital near Wilkes-Barre to the Indian Mountain Rod and Gun Club near Brodheadsville.

They're part of "Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing."

It teaches vets to cope with physical and emotional challenges through teaching the art of fly fishing.

"It's a good way to let it all hang out," said Mike Sherba of Wilkes-Barre.

Sherba served in the Navy from 1966 to 1968 and says he now is learning to cope with his stress and depression by casting his line.

"Pretty much learning how to stay mellow and not get upset like I just did, because I lost a fish. But that's OK," said Sherba.

Another benefit of belonging to this group, Mike says, is the camaraderie he's gained and the friendships he's made.

"A lot of us talk about what we did in the service and how you did. A good friend of mine, Tony, got me into other programs for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and all that stuff," said Sherba.

Camaraderie is also a big thing for Tom Tucker, a Vietnam veteran who served in the air force from 1969 to 1973.

"It does help you get out with other veterans and to actually catch a fish," said Tucker.

For Sherba, he caught a few trout, sending an enormous smile across his face.

"Feels great, feels great," said Sherba.

From April through October, the veterans can be found fly fishing throughout parts of our region. The main goal is for these veterans to grab the fishing rod and go fishing when times get tough.

"It helps get your mind off of everything. It gives you peace of mind.  A piece of well-being," said Tucker.

"On the way here we're on the bus, talking and laughing and all that stuff and having a good time.  We get here and we just laugh and have a good time," said Sherba.

If you or someone you know is a veteran and interested in joining the group, click on the link, call the Veterans Hospital in Wilkes-Barre and ask for "recreation services".

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