Reeve Foundation Story of Impact: Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on October 06, 2017 # Quality of Life

When the Warriors & Quiet Waters (WQW) Foundation needed additional support to renovate and increase ADA-compatible access to their 10,000-square-foot Quiet Waters Ranch north of Bozeman, Montana, they applied for a Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grant.

“It seemed like a natural fit for us to work with the Reeve Foundation,” said WQW Director of Development Gayle Whittenberg. “We are a small nonprofit with only five staff so the Reeve Foundation support was a big deal. It assures us that we can continue to help our nation’s heroes.”

Established in 2007, WQW offers post 9/11 combat warriors a week-long therapeutic fly fishing program at the organization’s serene 112-acre ranch. WQW serves active duty and retired disabled servicemen from all branches of the armed forces. One hundred percent of the 80 program participants in 2016 where decorated for combat or valor. Sixty-four percent had at least one Purple Heart.

“The heart of our mission lies in the words ’catalyst for positive change,’” said Whittenberg. “This is made possible through the serene experience of fly fishing and an abundance of camaraderie, love and respect, creating an environment where warriors can discover hope for a better future and the inner courage to find a more positive way of living. Our program has proven to be an innovative approach that interrupts negative patterns of thinking, improves mood, and enhances motivation to make positive change.”

Several months after their original Reeve Foundation grant was submitted, a generous donor stepped up to complete the funding needed for the ranch, so Whittenberg asked to redirect the grant funds to fully cover the transportation and program costs for two combat warriors living with spinal cord injuries. Each participant would also receive top-of-the-line fly fishing gear to bring home to encourage them to continue with the sport.

“The warriors who come here are trying to figure out what they can do, not what they can’t do,” said Whittenberg. “We do not receive any public or government funding so having the Reeve Foundation support toward getting these young men here is important. It is also important to bring these men together to support each other.”

Purple Heart recipient and WQW participant Jason Gibson agrees, "WQW is more than a place to fish. It offers veterans a chance to connect with each other and create lasting relationships. I've been through some tough and dark times since my injury. However, just being able to talk to my peers, I've been able to work through those times and now be able to help others."