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Fishing with the veterans

Dear Editor:

It’s time again to thank all those who, year after year, so generously contribute to our annual Disabled Veterans fishing days. For four days every year we put our visiting vets in boats and float them down the Roaring Fork River and this year was one of the best! Some of them can’t see, some of them can’t walk, some of them have such traumatic brain injuries that modern neuropathology doesn’t know what to do with them. All of them, however, caught fish, had immeasurably good experiences, and genuinely appreciate what the towns of Aspen and Snowmass share with them every year.

Meantime, guided fly fishing is so much more than someone with a leaky boat or waders teaching us how to trick a fish into taking bait instead of a naturally occurring food source. Guided fly fishing is one of the more critical mediums of watershed stewardship that we have, as it allows active participation in an ecosystem that implies and necessitates conservation. The opportunity to share the gift we’ve been given to be able to enjoy and participate in that resource with people who have made ultimate sacrifices on behalf of their country reminds us how special this place is and how privileged we are. Remember – right this instant there are people laying their lives on the line for us. Whether waging war is right or wrong, justified or not, don’t forget people are fighting for us; and if you ever get the chance to thank a veteran for their sacrifice, do it, because they need to know we appreciate it, that their sacrifices are not taken for granted.

To the guides: Lincoln Neiley, Taylor Logsten, Pete Mott, Aaron Calcott, Kyle Holt, Ed Dyson, Josh Lively, Gary Wheeler, Mike Thomas, Mike Calcaterra and Cameron Cipponeri – you guys make peoples’ lives better! Thank you to the Elks, without whom we could not even think about accommodating the vets for their week here. Thank you to Maria Maniscalchi and Rick Neiley for allowing us the use of your remarkable river frontage. Thank you to Mezzaluna and the Elks for the best hot lunches any cold fishermen would ever want. Thank you to Taylor Creek Fly Shop, Frying Pan Anglers and all the VA staff and volunteers. And thanks especially to our veterans – your dedication, commitment and sacrifice is a painful reminder of the price that is paid for our remarkable way of life.

Jonathan Feinberg

Aspen


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