Originally uploaded by Project Healing Waters Canada
Greg took to fly-angling in his thirties. Several harried years of extensive angling in Alberta, fly-tying and teaching the sport to others lead to his participation and direction of a national fly angling web community.
Around the same time Canada suffered it first major loss in the Afghan operation. April 2002 saw the loss of 4 Canadian soldiers in a friendly fire accident. Through close friends he was introduced in 2004 to one of the ‘un-injured’ soldiers who were present at the incident at the farm far away in Afghanistan.
The soldier (by that time discharged from the CF) was suffering PTSD symptoms regularly directly as a result of the friendly fire incident. The short and long term impact on that soldiers daily life was significant.
In 2006, the Afghan war truly hit home. Just a few weeks from the end of his second tour, a close family friend of Greg’s was critically injured in a suicide bomb attack. The attack killed Canadian diplomat Glynn Berry, caused significant head trauma to two soldiers and destroyed his friends legs.
Greg spent as much time as was feasible through the soldiers recovery, and watched the growth of the Northern Alberta Amputee Program under Paul Franklin’s passionate and dedicated care.
In the summer of 2006 while Paul continued his recovery, Greg was able to bring his PTSD suffering acquaintance on a fly fishing trip just a few hours from Edmonton. The 6 hours float tubing had a profound effect on the spirits of the soldier and it was apparent that for some men – the simple act of going fishing could be a real opportunity for therapy. [Ed note: That soldier, Darren Astles is now a client of PHWFFC, and one of our strong supporters!]
When Kerry Pitt began carrying the torch to bring Project Healing Waters to Canada, the opportunity did not go unnoticed.
Greg has served on the executive of the Fisheries Enhancement Society of Alberta (now dissolved) and the executive of the Northern Lights Fly Tyers and Fishers. He has taught fly fishing and fly tying, as well as guided on north central Alberta’s pothole lakes. His work has been published in Fly Fusion magazine and Alberta Outdoorsmen magazine and he continues to write, blog, and produce tying demonstrations through several online channels.