Thursday, December 27, 2012
Thursday, December 20, 2012
At first glance, they appear to be fishermen and women eagerly anticipating a day full of fly fishing and wondering what luck they'll have.
The people here are all part of a program called Project Healing Waters. It's a national non-profit, but locally has been coordinated in the Portland-Vancouver area for six years. The program is geared for disabled veterans and active duty military personnel who rehabilitate both emotionally and physically through fly-tying and fly fishing.
These veterans say what they get out of it varies just as much as their service records and injuries.
George Lonnee is a Marine who served in the Vietnam War in 1965-66 and 1968-69.
Lonnee suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and he attends counseling every Wednesday. Out on the water, he still thinks about the past.
Lonnee said Project Healing Waters has helped him tremendously, and even his family has noticed a big difference. He said he's benefited from the program and his connection with another veteran on one boat has helped him personally.
"They're not just sitting there sewing leather wallets. It's really therapy in the sense that they get to be out in the community," said local Project Healing Waters coordinator Jerry Lorang.
Lorang said the program has benefited countless veterans, in so many ways.
Theresa Chinn says the social experience specifically with other veterans is a huge part of why she enjoys the program.
While they only caught a few fish, Chinn says it's not about the fight for the fish, which they'd release anyways. It's not even about casting the perfect line.
Out on the river, the veterans get to be themselves. Although they're paired up with one other person, they're also surrounded by support, camaraderie and in a pressure free environment.
"We're all brothers. I don't care if they're Marine, Air Force, Army or whatever. We're all there for each other. Trust is the biggest thing, it's not about war stories, it's about making you feel good," said Lonnee.
For many of these veterans, Project Healing Waters might not take away all of the pain, but it is making a big difference for the folks who are dealing with very real problems in their lives.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Monday, December 3, 2012
Story by Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs.
PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Portland, Ore.— Oregon Air National Guard Col. Richard W. Wedan, former 142nd Fighter Wing vice commander, assumed command of the 142nd Fighter wing from Col. Michael E. Stencel during a change of command ceremony Dec. 2.
The wing’s colors were passed to Wedan during the ceremony, heavy with the responsibility and significance of leading the storied group called the Redhawks.
In his previous role as the vice wing commander, Wedan assisted in leading over 1,000 personnel in the execution of the F-15 aerospace control alert mission defending the Pacific Northwest, worldwide deployments, and domestic operations. The supporting role now becomes the leading role.
The outgoing commander thanked his family for their support during his tenure and the distinguished guests for attending the ceremony. Stencel also addressed the members of the 142nd in attendance, thanking them for their contributions, leadership and sacrifices that helped the wing achieve each mission.
During the ceremony, Wedan thanked Stencel in turn, for his leadership and tireless work ethic.
“Mike, you are truly a great man of tremendous character,” said Wedan.
As wing commander, Wedan will oversee the 142nd Fighter Wing just as Airmen prepare for an upcoming Combined Unit Exercise (CUE) scheduled for July, 2012.
During the ceremony, Wedan laid out a four-point leadership plan for the future of the 142nd Fighter Wing focusing on the homeland defense mission, base facilities, community engagement, recruitment and retention.
“I challenge you to embrace the endeavor through your whole-hearted contribution and best efforts,” said Wedan.
Wedan enlisted in the Minnesota Air National Guard in 1988 as a command post controller with the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minn., attended undergraduate pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, and received his initial F-16 training at Kingsley Field, in Klamath Falls, Ore., in 1991.
In 1997, Wedan returned to Oregon as an instructor pilot with the 173rd Fighter Wing at Kingsley Field, where he served for 12 years prior to being assigned to Oregon’s Joint Force Headquarters for three years as the director of operations.