FLY FISHERMAN: Film Screening Brings Vets and Fly Fishers Together
June 9, 2023
Pennsylvania event put on by Fly Fisherman magazine raises nearly $10,000 for Warriors and Quiet Waters.
More than 200 people attended a special advance screening of Mending the Line at the Allenberry Playhouse in Boiling Springs on June 3. The event planned and produced by Fly Fisherman magazine was a fundraiser for the nonprofit Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation, and raised nearly $10,000.
Many in crowd were veterans of wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and when director and producer Joshua Caldwell introduced the film, he warned that the battle scenes at the beginning could be “triggering.”
The film tells the story of a wounded Marine named Colter who ends up in VA Hospital in Montana, and gets paired with another vet—grouchy old Fletcher (Brian Cox)—to cope with PTSD. They find a common bond through fly fishing and together they learn to leave war and their struggles behind them.
"Mending the Line is a deeply personal project for me, a film that weaves together themes of healing, nature, and the transformative power of fly fishing,” said Caldwell. “My hope is that people will experience this in theaters and that they connect deeply with our characters' journeys—because these are more than just fictional stories, they echo real-life experiences of many veterans and others experiencing PTSD.”
After the film there was a panel discussion with Caldwell and four combat veterans including Col. Sean McNamara, who was wounded in combat in Afghanistan and is still on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, and Marine Frank Kancir who was injured in combat in Iraq and medically retired. Both of them are alumni of the Warriors and Quiet Waters program, which brings wounded vets to a ranch in Montana for a week of therapy and therapeutic fly fishing.
“Mending the Line's ability to capture the unfortunate aspects of war yet project the therapeutic benefits of nature and more specifically, fly-fishing, resonated deeply with my experience,” McNamara said. “The film's conclusion offers a glimpse of Warriors and Quiet Waters, an organization which utilizes fly-fishing and other nature-based opportunities to enable post 9-11 combat veterans and their loved one to thrive, provides a reminder of the exceptional organizations that continue to support those with enduring struggles.”
Local angler David Bowerman also joined the panel. He retired after 27 years as a chaplain with the U.S. Army. He deployed two times to Iraq and provided ministry to Wounded Warriors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Cumberland Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and has taken on a role of a liaison to local veterans.