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Martinsburg VA Medical Center

 

USGS partners with VA to promote healing and therapy

September 19, 2017

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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – More than 20 Veterans from the Martinsburg VA Medical Center (VAMC) recently spent a late summer’s morning fishing at the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) Leetown Science Center (LSC) in Kearneysville.

The Veterans from the Martinsburg VAMC were out for a day of fishing and comradery as part of a recreation therapy trip. “We are always looking for new avenues of recreation for our Veterans to help in their healing and recovery processes,” said Geoff Hopkins, supervisory recreation therapist. “When the LSC offered a day of fishing for our Veterans we were quick to accept the offer.”

The LSC is a hidden gem in Jefferson County. Their research focuses in part on understanding and solving emerging and known disease and health problems affecting fish and other aquatic resources. Promoting the health of our native fish is vital to recreational and commercial fishing opportunities and enjoying nature  in both West Virginia and throughout the U.S.

Tom, O’Connell, Center Director for the USGS Leetown Science Center, met with some of the Veterans to talk about fishing, but more importantly to listen to the Veterans express their thankfulness that the unit opened to give the Veterans something to do and the partnership his organization has formed with the VA. “I really enjoy seeing the Veterans come out to our property to fish,” he said. We try to connect with many groups in the surrounding area, whether it is a local school or the Veterans from Martinsburg.” There is no doubt that fishing brings people together from wide and varied backgrounds to have fun and share time.

Local fishermen from the Fishing Area Program led by former USGS employee Joseph “Frank” Roach, a Marine Corps Veteran, works with Veterans to make the outing memorable for all who attend these outings.

One thing a good day of fishing often produces is stories among the fishermen about the big one that got away. Along with those stories, several of the Veterans, members of the Martinsburg VAMC Golden Age Games Team were sharing their success in recovery and healing. 

John Palmer, Ben Welch and Debra Ferguson have all been through programs at the Martinsburg VAMC, and now they are giving back, helping others as they have been helped.

Steve Smoot, from Congressman Alex Mooney’s Office, was able to stop by and meet with the Veterans and the agencies staff and learn about this unique partnership between the agencies and the community.

There will be more days of fishing and comradery at the USGS research facility with Veterans, community partners and volunteers.

John Palmer, Ben Welch and Debra Ferguson have all been through programs at the Martinsburg VAMC, and now they are giving back, helping others as they have been helped.

Steve Smoot, from Congressman Alex Mooney’s Office, was able to stop by and meet with the Veterans and the agencies staff and learn about this unique partnership between the agencies and the community.

There will be more days of fishing and comradery at the USGS research facility with Veterans, community partners and volunteers.