Something More Important than Fishing
After retiring from his Fredericksburg cardiology practice, Dr. Michael Cherwek began teaching fly-fishing to injured and recovering soldiers and Marines at Walter Reed Hospital as a volunteer with Project Healing Waters.
Now Mike has established the Fredericksburg Area Military Service Initiative Fund of The Community Foundation to support charitable efforts like those of Project Healing Waters and others. This new fund offers permanently designated funds to provide early and long-term support to injured and recovering service members returning to civilian life.
As founder and managing partner of Fredericksburg’s longest continually operating cardiology practice, Mike understands the value and necessity of a firm plan for long term success. When responding to the pressures of his cardiology career, Mike also recognized the restorative benefits of “Vitamin N getaways” (N for nature) and enjoying the outdoors.
Mike explains, “No one serving in a war zone returns unchanged. Adverse physical and emotional consequences of war can easily go unrecognized or even ignored and they can unfortunately remain dormant for years.”
After his own experience volunteering with Project Healing Waters, Mike is certain that early proactive and sustained engagement with the civilian community can be a valuable way to help veterans and their families mend and adjust to a healthy and successful civilian life.
There are more ways to engage and support service men and women than fishing alone, for example canoeing and biking. Many programs offer mentorship, respite time, camaraderie and healing to veterans and their families.
Mike concludes, “It would not be possible to overestimate the restorative value of community outreach and philanthropic support to the recovery of our fellow citizens who have voluntarily sacrificed to serve our country.”
The Fredericksburg Area Military Service Initiative Fund will fund programs that help transition returning American military service members back to our communities through prospective and collegial initiatives. Grants from the fund will support initiatives that inclusively welcome all military service members with gratitude for their service to our country.
The Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region is proud to collaborate with the Fredericksburg Area Military Service Initiative to improve the lives of all our returning military service members.