Information from WYSH Radio
Josh Callihan of Maryville and Buzz Buffington of Clinton have been awarded regional honors by Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing for wounded and disabled veterans—Callihan as Tennessee Valley Region Participant of the Year and Buffington as Tennessee Valley Region Volunteer of the Year.
Both men have been active since the start of the year-old Knoxville Chapter of PHWFF, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the emotional and physical rehabilitation of wounded and disabled military veterans through fly fishing.
Callihan, the first disabled veteran to sign up for the Knoxville program, has helped PHWFF volunteers understand veterans’ needs and has established protocols for volunteers to follow, according to Steve Thompson of Maynardville, program lead for the Knoxville chapter. Callihan also inspired his wife Jessica, another disabled vet, to join the program. He has also personally recruited other veterans and has joined Thompson at trade shows and other events where they could meet and recruit veterans.
Callihan is currently lead volunteer for a proposed Smoky Mountains fishing tournament for veterans. For his achievements, he was awarded a new Orvis fly rod outfit.
Buffington is a longtime member of the Clinch River Chapter Trout Unlimited, a partner organization of the Knoxville Chapter PHWFF. He organized and led the fly tying class for veterans that was the first activity of the Knoxville Chapter as well as a second class this fall.
Buffington has long taught the Clinch River Chapter’s annual Introduction to Fly Tying course (for details on the 2014 course that starts in January, visit www.crctu.org) and also serves with many organizations working to conserve the environment.
Buffington has participated in all of the Knoxville Chapter’s fishing events for veterans and regularly takes veterans fishing on his own. He has worked with TVA to ensure that the Clinch River generation schedule would accommodate veterans’ fishing events, has worked directly with the PHWFF home office, and has facilitated the participation of Chota Outdoor Gear in providing equipment for PHWFF.
For more information about the Knoxville Chapter of PHWFF, contact Steve Thompson at [email protected] or (865) 773-3343.
Information in this story brought to you through an agreement between Oak Ridge Today and WYSH. See more local news headlines on the WYSH website at http://www.wyshradio.com/local_news.html.