Let ‘Er Fly

LET ‘ER FLY: the ballad of jack and hana

The Vietnam War ended in April 1975. For military veteran, Jack Simpson, while the physical war may be over, the emotional and mental scars of that period in American history remain.

'Let 'Er Fly' Hana
Veteran and fly fisherman Jack Simpson




A seemingly gruff man but actually with a kind heart, Jack is well known to many.  He is active in both the Wounded Warriors Canada and Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Canada communities. Currently residing in Williams Lake, B.C., Jack has always possessed a love of fly fishing. He runs his own fishing and fly tying business, Sandpiper Fly Fishing. The store supplies some of the best quality rods available.


Working at Blue Mountain Gunsmithing, red-haired Hana Eastmond was aware of Jack and his fishing business. Occasionally they would chat. At 26 years-old, Hana’s sense of the world around her was still small so Jack’s stories intrigued her. He didn’t spell out everything he had experienced, but she realized that fishing to Jack was more than just a hobby or sport. Still fighting the demons inside him after his military service years ago,  it was a way to help him calm them. Together with his beloved wife, Grace, fishing for the couple was a shared experience. The sport allowed Jack to find some peace of mind. It enabled him to let go of everything.

Let 'Er Fly
Hana Eastmond
fly fishing

Hana herself hadn’t really done any fly fishing; what fishing she’d enjoyed was mostly from being on boats. Jack’s descriptions of being out on the water, and his obvious passion for fishing, means she now fly fishes a little more. She has been helped along by Jack giving her a small fly rod to try.

Earlier this year Jack mentioned to Hana that he was planning a fly fishing event in the Caribou region to support Caribou Wounded Warriors. This event would bring in veterans from around the province and drum up support from many wonderful, community-spirited local businesses. He happened to mention that he wished he had a theme song for the event.


As it happens, Hana is an accomplished musician. From the age of 5 she had started singing and doing little events in her local area. Eventually she attended the University of Calgary where she studied classical and opera music. After graduation, Hana knew going the classical route might not be entirely for her. Such good educational grounding meant that she could turn her musical talent to almost anything. She found she had a taste for country music so she and her guitar performed at many individual events. Soon Hana decided to attend a week-long songwriting workshop in Wells, just outside of Barkerville, B.C. Writing comes mostly from her gut feelings so the workshop helped her to hone and finesse some of the songs whirling around in her heart and mind.

Like a confluence of rivers, Jack’s stories and Hana’s music were meant to join together: when he said he was looking for a theme song, Hana was inspired by all the stories he’d told which sparked the music within her. Hana began songwriting the same day, the words and music tumbling out about the healing powers of fishing and water.

After a week, Hana had a complete song but she had never been inside a recording studio. She consulted a trusted friend for feedback. It wasn’t long before she was in Vancouver, at the Saga recording studio. Here, along with Canadian C.M.A. fiddle player, Mike Sanyshyn, and producer, Mike Nowak, she recorded her lyrics and music. This session led to ‘Let ‘Er Fly’, the Caribou weekend’s theme song.

let ‘er fly song

Since then, the story behind ‘Let ‘Er Fly’ and the song itself have really taken off.  Social media, local television channels and radio stations have featured the story and Hana.

Hana, though self-effacing and extremely modest about her talent, is anxious that only the cause is promoted. However she has been noticed by many influential people, including a record label producer. We should be hearing more about her in the future.

What makes this story remarkable and poignant is how, through shared passions for fishing and music, two different generations connected. Jack and Hana understood that hurt and healing are not mutually exclusive or restricted to gender, race or age: they are universal emotions and experiences. People are brought together through listening, sharing and communicating to promote comfort, understanding and peace.

For more information about the Caribou Wounded Warriors event, go to their Facebook page at Caribou Wounded Warriors. The Williams Lake community and the Mayor, Walt Cobb, have proclaimed 13-21 September, 2015 ‘Wounded Warriors of Canada’ week. Please show your support for all the local businesses and news media who have embraced the event. Thanks go to Fly BC and others who have donated materials and equipment.

'Let 'Er Fly'
Williams Lake welcomes the Wounded Warriors

To donate to the event or to Wounded Warriors Canada, please click here.

Veterans attending this weekend will almost certainly enjoy the outstanding scenery and hospitality of Williams Lake. The water, fly fishing equipment, lessons and experts will provide a fantastic fly fishing experience in the spirit of healing, camaraderie and friendship.

Project Healing Waters Canada Calendar

Project Healing Waters Canada Calendar – a must have for fans and supporters. Some of you may have seen tweets from us recently about it.

Project Healing Waters Canada Calendar
Cover of the 2015 Project Healing Waters Canada Calendar © Corvidae Studios

The calendar is the brainchild of Jonathan Edwards and Ann Allain who run a photography business, Corvidae Studios, in Ottawa, Ontario. Jonathan is a cousin of Ryan Edwards. Ryan is the program coordinator for a Project Healing Waters chapter in Newfoundland.

Both Jonathan and Ann are proud of the veterans who serve our country and also of Ryan and his contribution. Knowing that funds are always welcome by Project Healing Waters Canada, and realizing that they had some great aviation photographs, Jonathan and Ann decided that if the two were combined, a colourful calendar could be put together.

The talented duo contacted our Program team to ask about working with us to produce the calendar. Following discussions by phone and email, there was a friendly meeting over coffee. Project Healing Waters Canada was delighted at the idea and is exploring the options for future calendar promotions as well.

Project Healing Waters Canada Calendar images

So far the calendar sales have been doing well though we still have a few left. Take a look at some of the great images below.

Project Healing Waters Canada Calendar
January Photo – Mustang © Corvidae Studios
Project Healing Waters Canada Calendar
March Photo – Mako Shark © Corvidae Studios
Project Healing Waters Canada Calendar
June Photo – Sabre Hawk One © Corvidae Studios

If you still haven’t got a calendar at home or in the office, den – wherever! – please contact Corvidae here and place your order. Cost is now $18 (down from $20) with some of the proceeds going towards the activities in Ryan’s area. Follow Corvidae, too, on Twitter where they are @CorvidaePhotos.

It is therefore the project’s hope that another calendar can be produced for 2016. The goal is to have a larger number printed, more features and information, and more funds raised to work across more PHWFFC chapters.

Most of all, thank you to Jonathan and Ann for their hard work and support of veterans. The funds raised will help us with more rehabilitation and healing.

Ottawa fly tying

Ottawa fly tying
Mosca Woolly Bugger


Winter in Ottawa fly tying

Ottawa fly tying sessions are going to be provided this Winter. The sessions are run by volunteers from Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Canada.

These sessions are going to take place on a weekly basis. The start date is Tuesday November 19th. They will probably run through the Winter with an anticipated end at some point during March 2015.

The fly tying sessions are all in the basement of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #593.  The map below indicates the location at 4026 Old Richmond Road, Nepean (Bells Corner), Ontario.

Ottawa Fly tying
Location Map

Everyone is going to meet between 09.30 a. m. and 13.30 p.m each session.

Furthermore, as the Holiday season approaches, we are going to finish on December 16th, 2014 . We are due to start the sessions again on January 6th, 2015.

Also please note that equipment and materials are provided for those who need them.

Any veterans who are interested are welcome to come along. For further information, please contact our National Program Coordinator, Andre Baril.

In addition, it is also possible to contact one of the Outing Coordinators, Marc MacIntyre or Nick Mraovic, for help or advice.

We are hoping to see you there!