Fly Fishing As A Meditative, Healing Process For Veterans

May 23, 2014

For some soldiers, learning to live with physical injuries or post-deployment stress in a clinical setting is a less than conducive atmosphere for making progress.

Here I was listening to a woman give commands aside a rushing river, which is quite loud and could sound very much like a fire fight, and my mind was on Afghanistan, my mind was thinking of the last shot I took.

Rivers of Recovery, a Minnesota based nonprofit group, uses a different approach:  They take soldiers out into the woods and teach them to fly fish. The aim is to provide counseling, camaraderie and self-care tools that soldiers can build on.

Sergeant Kurt Erickson is an infantrymen serving in the second Stryker brigade at Washington’s Joint Base Lewis McChord. He deployed to Afghanistan for nine months in 2012. Since his return, Erickson has become active with the Rivers of Recovery.

As Erickson was headed out on his second trip with the group, KUOW reporter Patricia Murphy asked him to record an audio diary of the experience.