Monday, April 6, 2009

It Takes A Village To Raise A Fund.

It's about to get really busy around here. I wanted to take this time to say thanks all around to everyone that helped make this a reality.

The Biggest Thanks

The biggest of thanks to the people that get up and go to work every day in boots and camo. The people that put it all on the line. The people that give it everything they've got so we can keep everything we've got. Thanks to the men and women of our armed services. Thanks to the wounded warriors. We know we can never really repay you, but we hope you'll accept our undying gratitude for your dedication, service and sacrifice.

It's nearly time. Some folks are going to start showing up this Thursday. Most folks will arrive sometime Friday. Entertainers have confirmed, registrations are coming in, volunteers are coordinating everything from ice chests to public address systems door prizes and auction items are arriving. Seems like there is a new package on the doorstep everyday. We need to recognize these donors. Since The Purple Heart Rod was the last post, let's start there.

D.R. Stone Rod Company
If you look at the post below this one, you'll see the latest picture that Leo sent on the build. Says it casts a 4wt line like nobody's business. The blank was donated by Dennis Stone, of D.R.Stone Rod Company. I have a DRStone blank that Dennis made. I have not yet built the rod but I am looking forward to the project.

Dennis became interested in bamboo about 15 years ago and that interest sparked his bamboo rod building and restoration business. When Leo told Dennis about The Purple Heart Rod project, he donated the blank. Thank you Dennis.

Enter REC Components

Leo then contacted REC Components to order the rest of the stuff needed to complete the build. When REC President Alan Gnann found out about the project, they jumped on board with their donations as well. Alan and I have had a couple of email exchanges recently. Here's a quote from one of his notes.

"Ron, Many of us at REC, including me, are proud veterans and pleased to do what we can to support our military personnel. REC has on its staff 3 Vietnam era vets, my son served tours in Bosnia and the 1993 Iraq invasion and we also have a 25 year old medically retired marine, Paul, on staff who suffered a disabling head wound during a training exercise in preparation for an Iraq deployment."

I also asked for a brief description of their company, since I'm not exactly in the know about rod building. Here is what Paul sent.

"REC Components, Designer and Manufacture of the finest rod building components and cases. Especially renowned for high quality reel seats, hardwood spacers, cork rings, cork grips, rod bags, aluminum rod cases, winding checks, RECOIL, Mildrum, and Perfection. With the exception of blanks, REC Components offers everything required by OEM rod Manufactures and custom rod builders. REC also offers in house Screen Printing, Laser and Deep Diamond Engraving. The REC Components staff stands ready to provide our superior service to customers world wide."

Pickin' and Grinnin'
I first came to Nashville in 1994 with songwriting partner Joe Hodge. On that trip we met and became friends with Nashville publicist Vernell Hackett. I spammed my entire email list with this project, including Vernell. When she read the letter, she offered to help spread the word. Thank you, Vernell.

One of Vernell's contacts is Erin Morris of Santa Rita Artist Management. Erin wrote
"My client, Pete Huttlinger, has an album called Catch and Release. He's a serious fly fisherman and even wrote the theme song for ESPN's "Fly Fishing America".
Pete is booked on Monday the 13th on The Today Show in New York, but he has time and has volunteered to play for us Friday evening, the 10th. Check out Pete Huttlinger.

I also sent emails and left telephone messages for a group I'd heard of called 2ND Nature. I got a call back from artist/hit songwriter Don King. Don is a part of the group 2ND Nature , he was a recording artist on Epic Records, runs Don King Music and is Chief of Education and Information for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Perfect fit for this event and we thank him for his time.

Another great talent I met years ago, through Vernell, is Ryan Murphey. He and I hae written a together a time or two. He's a great guy. I just found out this mornig that he is going to be there too! This is going to be great.

I would not be surprised if other entertainers show up as well. Some volunteered but had to cancel, others have expressed desire to help out if their schedule allows. Looking forward to seeing who might show up.

Friday night, before the show, we are going to have a little cook out. Then Saturday morning we'll have a great breakfast and that evening, before the auction and door prizes, we are going to eat a FANTASTIC meal prepared by Mike Hill. Mike fly fishes every chance he gets, does a little photography and he cooks. Cooks like a maniac. He's famous around here for his smoker techniques and all I had to do was ask him to cook for us. Mike works some at Cumberland Transit in the fly shop.

Door Prizes And Auction

If you look to the column on the far right of this post, you'll find a long list of Sponsors and Donors. They have all donated goods or services to be awarded or sold at this event.

Brandon Gunnels, Nashville area auctioneer and avid fly fisherman/wooden drift boat builder, is going to be our auctioneer for the evening. He is also bringing the PA system. Cool.

Cumberland Transit in Nashville has donated a reel and fly line to go on the Purple Heart Rod. Leo says: "The reel is an Orvis CFO with a nice, matching Buckskin colored line. Due to it's size, it could be used on just about any 4/5wt fly rod. Works well on The Purple Heart though."

Cumberland Transit was also the guiding force behind obtaining a Project Healing Waters Rod and Reel outfit from Temple Fork Outfitters. Rick Pope heads up the company and they have long been supporters of Project Healing Waters. Thanks Rick.

I just got some gift certificates from Rhonda at Tim's Flies and Lies in Lynchburg. They are also the NuCanoe dealer in Middle Tennessee that helped us obtain the NuCanoe door prize.

I'm on the pro-staff of Montana Fly Company and when I approached them about this deal they sent me some goodies as well. Flies, and tying tools.

Ian from Grasshopper Outdoor Products sent us some Mono-Masters and other fly fishing tool. I am a big fan of the Mono-Master. We have come to know it as the Leader Eater. Keeps waste mono off of our streams. Good stuff.

Jeff Kennedy, the man behind the art of Drawing Flies 365 has donated a copy of his soon to be published book. Cool stuff, check it out.

Kelly Palmer, guide for Kootenai River Outfitters, has donated a guided fly fishing trip in Montana as has Joel of Montana Troutaholic Outfitters.

David at Southeastern Fly has donated a trip in Tennessee.

Jarrod, who works with Mike over at has donated a Tennesse float trip and a guitar autographed by Grammy Award Winning rockers, Kings Of Leon. That group is made up of Tennessee boys that are taking the world by storm. When Jarrod isn't on the river, he works for Kings Of Leon.

Ronnie Howard, aka "Grumpy", Caney Fork guide and fly shop man at Cumberland Transit, has donated a guide trip and been instrumental in helping gather up all sorts of other stuff we need from firewood to ice chests and other donations.

Blake and the good people at NuCanoe really helped to anchor the door prizes with a fully loaded, 12' Tandem Ultimated Adventurer model NuCanoe. They nearly gave us the boat and with the help of, Montana Troutaholic Outfitters and Tim's Flies and Lies, this door prize came to fruition.

A big thanks also goes out to the members of every fishing forum I've spammed with all of this. They have graciously allowed me to publicize this event even though I haven't had much time to be an active member on their forums. Those include Little River Outfitters, The Itinerant Angler, RockyMtnFly,, FishingTN, and blogger Tom Chandler at Trout Underground. It is greatly appreciated.

One more thing. If it hadn't been for the core group of supporters at that shared this idea and got behind it, none of this would have ever happened. Thanks guys.

See you in a few days.

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