Militarily Speaking Ep. 57 Casting Lines, Reeling in Lives: Supporting Veterans with John Jones from Project Healing Waters

We — with guests like you — will help the military community not only navigate their finances but also military life. We chat about both good and bad financial practices and provide some insight along the way. We’ll share strategies to help people get ahead, discuss military benefits that members should take advantage of, and more – all working towards the goal of helping people become more financially independent.

On the show, we’ll also preview and talk about how to take advantage of military specific services, such as loans and mortgages, and help members prepare for important milestones such as PCS moves and the transition to civilian life. Finally, at the end of every episode, we have a bit of fun with our Military Minute. That guessing-game segment features military history, hobbies, a bit of pop culture. Correct guesses by listeners could result in a donation to charity of individual’s choice.

Welcome to the "Militarily Speaking" podcast with Tom McLean and Jodi Vickery.

In this episode of “Militarily Speaking,” Tom and Jodi, are joined by John Jones, Vice President of Development at Project Healing Waters, discuss exceptional efforts to assist veterans through the therapeutic art of fly fishing. John shares touching stories, such as his own journey of recovery and encounters with fellow veterans, and how you can support their mission.

“Militarily Speaking” is a podcast produced by Armed Forces Bank that is dedicated to the military lifestyle and all the things that makes the military community who they are.


Ep. 57 – Casting Lines, Reeling in Lives: Supporting Veterans with John Jones from Project Healing Waters

 Jodi enthusiastically introduces John Jones, highlighting his commendable service history as a Retired Staff Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and his significant contributions to the nonprofit sector. She notes his evident dedication to helping fellow veterans and his various roles in organizations addressing housing, education, job placement, and veteran services.


Fly Fishing as Therapy for Veterans

 John explains the mission of Project Healing Waters, emphasizing the use of fly fishing as a therapeutic tool to promote whole health mindfulness among veterans. He debunks the myth that fly fishing is merely an "old rich man's sport," explaining how the program engages veterans of all ages, from all service branches and eras, helping them find peace and mental well-being through activities such as casting, building rods, and tying flies.

 He reveals that Project Healing Waters has served over 65,000 veterans in its 19 years of operation, with 7,330 veterans participating in the past year alone. As the organization approaches its 20th anniversary, they are also introducing more initiatives, such as "Women on the Fly," aimed at increasing female veteran participation.


How Project Healing Waters Saves Lives

 John shares a powerful and personal vignette about a Korean War vet who inspired him by sharing his harrowing yet resilient journey. This interaction compelled John to open up about his own experiences, reinforcing the therapeutic power of storytelling and shared experiences.

 He reminisces about a particularly moving experience in Montana, where a veteran with a "thousand-yard stare" transformed into a sociable, happy individual within a day of participating in a fly-fishing event. This transformation was so profound that the veteran's brother, a donor, was amazed by the immediate positive change.

 John emphasizes that Project Healing Waters is not just about fly fishing; it is fundamentally about saving lives. The organization welcomes veterans and active-duty service members in need, and they offer various avenues for participation, including fly tying, rod building, and volunteer opportunities for both veterans and non-veterans.


Volunteer, Donate, or Buy Tickets

 There are numerous ways for people to contribute to Project Healing Waters. Volunteers, especially those skilled in fly fishing, are always needed and highly valued. Donations are also crucial, and the organization has set up several events and initiatives, including a 10th annual Healing on the Fly gala in New York City and the Greenbriar event in West Virginia.

 Project Healing Waters is currently hosting a sweepstakes featuring a 2024 Toyota Tundra pickup and a Boulder Boatworks drift boat. The sweepstakes aim to raise a million dollars, with participants encouraged to make at least a $5 donation to enter. The winner will be announced in November, offering an exciting incentive for supporters.


Expanding Reach

 Project Healing Waters has extended its reach into 183 programs across 48 states. They have also collaborated with DOD hospitals, warrior transition units, and VA medical centers, ensuring that their healing programs touch the lives of veterans in numerous ways and at various points in their recovery journey.

 To learn more, donate, or get involved – visit


Military Minute

Jodi introduces the Military Minute segment of the show, beginning by closing out last episode’s Military Minute.

  • Last episode’s Military Minute: What pizza establishment did Kelly Clarkson work before eventually winning the first season of American Idol in 2002?
  • Answer: Papa John‘s
  • This week’s Military Minute question: What is the nickname for a fly fisherman? And what is the birthplace of fly fishing?
  • Watch for Facebook and Instagram posts about this episode.
  • Answer with the correct answer and you plus a charity of your choice can each win $50.
  • After a winning selection, Military Minute participants are eligible for another selection after 12 months.


Tom closes the episode by asking listeners to go to and subscribe to the show, as well as leave a rating and comment on your favorite podcast platform such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

 Join us to hear how to better navigate your finances, military life, and the crossroads of the two.