Have You Ever Been Drunk on Peace?

We all prefer neither to travel nor undertake anything outdoors during winter storms, right? But what if we already planned a fly fishing weekend at Elliott State Forest, and a winter storm was predicted for those days (second weekend of February). Do we cancel it? NO!

Everyone was excited to go to Elliot State Forest, and it didn’t matter under what conditions. For those of you who don’t know much about Elliott State Forest, it is 93,000 acres of unspoiled land near Coos Bay. It is home to some of Oregon’s oldest, most majestic trees, rare and endangered wildlife, clean water, and some of the most intact native landscapes that exist in Oregon.

One of the veterans on the trip wanted to share his experience of this special place. His name is Travis, who has a 100% service connected disability.  He was in some turbulence before the trip: “I was very excited as I had never been steelhead fishing before. Though the rain did not cooperate with us, and the river levels had not gotten high enough for the fish to be as far upstream as our camp, there was still plenty of good times to be had throughout the weekend.”

“First of all, and most important, I made two new veteran friends that weekend. I really appreciated their kindness and the conversations we had. For those who have not visited Elliott State Forest. You cannot fathom what you’re missing. It is such an incredible, one of a kind, destination. I found such an astonishing level of peace while in this forest. That I literally felt almost drunk by the time I got home. The camping conditions were not ideal as it was snowing all weekend. I found myself looking to the trees hoping that one of those Widowmaker branches wouldn’t crush me in my sleep. I slept beneath trees fit for giants. I stood in the river as the snow fell around me. I cooked a cheeseburger on a wheelbarrow over an open fire. Most importantly though, I was given an opportunity enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow veterans. I didn’t have to worry about what was coming next. I didn’t have to worry about how to best serve. So I would not trade what I do for anything in the world.”

Read our complete newsletter (February 2019) HERE.


Funds Awarded by Exclusively Local Funders 

January, 2019. Source One Serenity was awarded $16,000 to cover some expenses for preparing the launch of its social enterprise, a worm farm to manufacture worm castings with the use of food waste. All three funders are located in Roseburg, Douglas County.   

Source One Serenity is thrilled to be a recipient of grant awards from three funders, the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, and the audience vote at the Roseburg Angel Investment Network (RAIN) Contest. The funds received will be used for purchasing blueprints for a worm digester to be welded, hiring an advisor for proof of concept, successful launch of operations and market entrance, and marketing materials. The primary goal of starting the social enterprise was to achieve a sustainable revenue model to fund outdoor activities for disabled veterans. We will use food waste, which will be converted through the worms’ specialized digestive system into a nutrient-rich fertilizer called vermicompost, or worm castings. Thus, the worm farm offers several benefits and opportunities including veteran’s employment, and recycling food waste. It also provides a solution for sustainable agriculture to restore our soil through natural/organic fertilizer, worm castings.

Source One Serenity started the test phase of operating vermicomposting in household bins with smallest possible investment of time and capital a year ago. We learned the vermicomposting process, the market and need for worm castings, which is a natural soil amendment. With positive results of the test phase and research, we entered the next phase of planning concerning start-up of the large-scale worm farm.

The Co-Founder of Source One Serenity, Elena Lininger said: “I do believe in the power of every heart in this community, how M. Williamson said: “In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal.  In every heart, there is the power to do it.”

“We are grateful and humble to be recipients of these funds. We are honored to serve this community, and we know that all together we can make positive changes in our community. A worm farm, for us, is like lighting two candles with one flame, i.e. offering solutions to several issues such as recycling, serving our veterans, and restoring our soils.”

Source One Serenity is proud to have served more than 400 veterans since 2016 through fly fishing programs, fly tying classes at the Roseburg VA Medical Center and the Umpqua Valley Arts Association, and recently established a hiking program for women veterans.

About our Funders:

The Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation is committed to the quality of life for people in the community within Coos, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, and Lane counties. It was established in 1997 by the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians which has a long time-honored tradition of giving to their communities.

The Ford Family Foundation was established in 1957 by Kenneth W. and Hallie E. Ford. Its mission is “successful citizens and vital rural communities” in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California.

The Roseburg Area Angel Investor Network (RAIN) was founded 6 years ago to invest into small businesses, developing a forum where small businesses can pitch their ideas at an annual conference. During the 2018 event it also offered an additional cash prize of up to $5,000 with the attendee’s casting their vote for their personal favorite. The funding for cash prizes were raised by the Umpqua Business Center.

About Source One Serenity:
Source One Serenity is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and it is located in Roseburg, Douglas County. Source One Serenity’s mission is to empower veterans to reclaim their sense of purpose through outdoor activities and land stewardship. Visit or call 541-580-5655 for further information.

Press Release in pdf

buss rondeau
  Honored to be a recipient of the BUSTER RONDEAU AWARD to honor the memory of a long standing Tribal Board Member and founding member of the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation on June 9, 2019 at Seven Feathers in Canyonville, Oregon. Buster Rondeau was a WWII veteran.

Hikes for Women Veterans Only

We’ve had two hikes on the North Umpqua Trail, and we were touched to hear from Brandy, who is leading hikes for our women veterans.

Brandy said, “When I headed out to the meeting spot for that first hike, I was excited and also very nervous. I knew this women’s outreach program was something I needed, but was it actually something other women veterans needed? Eight women promptly arrived, and within a few minutes I realized that the hike was going to be successful, and that Source One Serenity’s outreach was something definitely needed in our community. In just a few hours together, I watched bonds forming between the ladies. This awesome group of women began sharing their stories and their lives, and putting their hearts out there for others to see. No judgment, no competition, just open hearts and support for each other.

“Since we completed that first hike, I have had multiple followup encounters with the eight women I hiked with that first day. They have shared their stories and told me things such as, “I finally feel like I found my place in Roseburg,” “You were the friend I was looking for,” and “I needed this group more than you know.”

In summing up, Brandy said, “My heart is happy, my soul is feeling connected, and I am super excited about the future of our women’s program at Source One Serenity. I plan on continuing our twice-monthly hikes through the fall and winter, and I am actively making plans for some additional activities over the next few months. The hikes are only the beginning!”

September 2018

If you want to join the group of women veterans, send us an email to:


Discovering Sense of Purpose with Gary Zukav

September 9, 2018, was a very special day. We met with Gary Zukav, spiritual teacher and the author of four consecutive New York Times bestsellers. In his book The Seat of the Soul, and in some of his interviews with Oprah Winfrey, he shared experiences and perceptions of his military career as a Green Beret in Vietnam. We were interested in knowing more about his military service, so we invited Gary and his spiritual partner, Linda Francis, to the North Umpqua River to meet and talk with other veterans. It was an honor for all of us to meet him.

The day started with fly fishing on the majestic North Umpqua to enjoy the enduring beauty of this magical river in the company of other veterans, including Frank Moore, WWII veteran and fly fishing legend. After fly fishing, we all met up at Frank’s house to listen to Gary Zukav’s inspirational message. Several veterans also shared their perceptions of their own military service in the discussions that followed.

After the talk, several participants said that it was “the most thought-provoking conversation.” One of them also shared about going to our local bookstore and buying four of Gary Zukav’s books. Another guest wrote, “I would love to do it again, but explore deeper. We can listen more to Gary and challenge our thinking.”

The conversation was video-recorded by John Waller from Uncage the Soul, who also made the film Mending the Line with Frank Moore.

We look forward to the video with Gary Zukav, which will be available to the public nationwide.

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Finding Peace on the Water


This article was published in The News Review on May 27, 2018 (by Emily Hoard, Business, Natural Resources and Outdoors Reporter):

Since Iraq veteran Rusty Lininger started Source One Serenity in 2016, the nonprofit has been helping veterans with post traumatic stress disorder and disabilities through fly fishing.

Douglas County veterans, including Garry Gerlach of Winston and Terry Weakley of Riddle, both said their experience tying flies and catching fish with Source One Serenity has helped them relieve stress and find a sense of community.

Weakley returned to Douglas County after he was shot during the Vietnam War, working in the timber industry for 30 years and seeking treatment for his PTSD from the Roseburg VA’s PTSD program. He said he had been drinking way too much before he met Rusty Lininger at the VA and got involved with the nonprofit over a year ago, and that Source One Serenity’s fly tying classes have given him a positive outlet, keeping him away from alcohol.

“It was something to keep me occupied, and it relieves stress,” Weakley said. “I really enjoy it, and it’s something to make sure I’m not just at home couching up, that’s where the tendency to drink comes in.” Through fly tying a few times a week and volunteering with other local organizations, including Vietnam Veterans of America, Weakley said he keeps a busy schedule that helps him stay sober.

Now, he said, he’s been sober for more than 500 days and is looking forward to participating in more of Source One Serenity’s classes this summer.

“I can be proud I don’t drink anymore,” he added.

Weakley also said he enjoys the camaraderie of the fly tying classes.

“We all have fishing stories to tell, and we don’t talk about the service much,” Weakley said. He added he enjoys meeting people through the classes, where he helps other veterans learn how to tie flies.

For Gerlach, a Vietnam veteran who is disabled, fly fishing has become a way to enjoy life.

“It’s about getting out in the environment and becoming close to nature, and getting your mind away from the military part of your life,” Gerlach said. “A lot of us have medical problems, and this is a way to forget about that stuff and just relax and enjoy ourselves.”

Last summer, Gerlach joined the Liningers and about seven other veterans for Source One Serenity’s week-long fly fishing school at Lemolo Lake.

“Quite a few of us caught fish, but it wasn’t just about the fishing,” Gerlach said. “You’re stepping back into nature and escaping from the city life and hustle and bustle of all that, and it’s just relaxing.”

He remembers arriving at Lemolo and stepping out of the car to find the place nice and quiet, with no sounds of traffic.

He said all he had to bring was his clothes, and the nonprofit supplied everything else at no cost to the veterans; including fly fishing gear, food and lodging at lake-front cabins.

“I absolutely, thoroughly enjoyed it,” Gerlach said. “Rusty is probably one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.”

A couple days after the retreat, Gerlach was sitting at home when a thought crossed his mind and inspired him to write a poem:

“I hear the call of the river and lake this morning/ Although I cannot answer it/ A peacefulness is upon me/ Knowing the serenity of time well spent/ In a place which cleanses the heart and soul.”

Rusty Lininger said Lemolo Lake is a beautiful place to teach someone how to fly fish.

“You may know nothing about fishing, but you can show up and learn everything you need to know about the water, the fish species and tying your own flies and knots,” he said.

Elena Lininger, Rusty Lininger’s wife, said the group of veterans who went on the Lemolo trip still stay in touch.

“It’s a community,” she said.

This year, two fly fishing schools are scheduled for June 4 through 10 and July 9 through 15. Source One Serenity will also continue to offer fly tying classes, including one at 6 p.m. May 30 at the Umpqua Valley Arts Association.

Elena Lininger said Source One Serenity is not about raising awareness about veterans suffering from PTSD and thoughts of suicide, it’s about providing a solution.

Rusty Lininger, who grew up living in Myrtle Point and visiting the North Umpqua River, had been dealing with depression and PTSD after returning from Iraq. In 2012, he attempted suicide. But while living in Germany, he learned how to fly fish from a Gulf War veteran.

Fly fishing soon became a sort of sanctuary for him, a safe way to focus on a present moment of peace instead of past experiences of trauma.

When he moved to Roseburg in 2016, he decided to share that sanctuary with other veterans.

Rusty Lininger said many veterans receive individual unemployability status as part of the VA’s disability compensation program, but without the ability to work, he said veterans often lose their sense of purpose.

“They feel they have no purpose, no reason to get up and be active in the community,” Rusty Lininger said. “You’ve taken a warrior, which throughout history is a high class of service in a community, and now he’s just under a rock somewhere.”

Source One Serenity recently partnered with local whitewater rafting guide Paul Eckel of Roseburg, who takes veterans on rafting trips.

“We have like minds to reach veterans and bring them out from under that rock of isolation and bring them into an activity where they can process things they never talk about, and find a sense of adventure where it’s been lost,” Eckel said.

Eckel and the Liningers plan to take veterans on a combined rafting and fly fishing trip this summer at the Gold Hill Whitewater Center.

Eckel served 15 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and said he experiences a feeling of safety while maneuvering through the rapids of the North Umpqua River.

“For me, it’s a safe place,” Eckel said. “The moment I cross Swiftwater Park and Deadline Falls, a peace comes over me and when I’m moving through the water. I’m one with whatever came before me out there.”

He added whitewater rafting creates a shared experience and an opportunity for teamwork between the rafters, while the sound of the flowing water is pure and speaks to each person differently.

“It speaks healing and life into you, if you give it enough of a chance,” Eckel said.

Rusty Lininger said in addition to the classes and excursions, Source One Serenity offers 24/7 peer support for veterans. He said he’s there for his fellow veterans whenever they want to go fly fishing spontaneously, if they just need to talk or if they want help with housework.

Source One Serenity also connects veterans to other river-related field trips, including one to Soda Springs Reservoir in September to help biologists catch fish using electricity in order to study them.

Gerlach said he also got to go on a tour of the Soda Springs Dam and the fish ladder system, and was impressed by the way the project helps steelhead migrate between the North Umpqua River and the Pacific Ocean.

Gerlach, an OSU master gardener, is helping the nonprofit create a social enterprise involving composting with worms.

Vermicomposting, or composting with worm casting manure, helps add nutrients to soil so plants can grow faster and with a better quality, according to Gerlach.

Rusty Lininger said Source One Serenity hopes to hire veterans to pick up fruit and vegetable waste from local grocery stores and work with the worms to create and sell the compost. He said the goal is to make the vermicomposting enterprise into a sustainable source of revenue for the nonprofit.

Elena Lininger added this idea is still in the research and testing phase while Source One Serenity searches for a facility.

Elena Lininger said the Source One Serenity programs are free of charge for the veterans, and are funded through grants, as well as donations from local residents and businesses.

Scott Kelley, co-owner of Paul O’Brien Winery in Roseburg, is one of the business owners who has helped raise funds for Source One Serenity through the annual Get Wet for a Vet golf tournament and gala dinner in Portland.

Kelley said his winery focuses its donation efforts on children, outdoor events and veterans, so he decided to donate wines for the auction in order to benefit Source One Serenity.

Elena Lininger said Source One Serenity received $2,500 from Get Wet for a Vet, so Rusty Lininger carved a wine barrel to give to the winery as a thank you gift.

“I’m a fly fisherman, so this is an extremely cool way to give back; I’m just amazed and so impressed with what they’re doing to get veterans out on the water,” Kelley said.

The article can be found here, too. 

article nr 2018

Why I Fly Tie

This story was written by Warren Price (SSG. Ret.) from Idaho, who became our friend and for whom fly fishing was a life-saver, too.

Sitting down to dinner with my family on the 5th of July, our meal was interrupted by a massive explosion.  My wife and kids said I looked like a deer in the headlights.  I ran to the door, flung it open, and looked up and down the street in time to see the smoke dissipating 50 yards from my porch.  Only it wasn’t smoke–it was steam from a lightning strike on the asphalt.

I was, however, no longer in the present, at my front door; instead I was transported across time and space to Balad, Iraq, April 12, 2004 as a barrage of rockets and mortars hit the building I had just entered. I re-lived the smoke, sights, and smells of that awful day when 17 people were wounded and 2 lost their lives.  As a medic, I had seen one of the latter.  His empty final words echo in my mind; “I guess I picked the wrong day to get shaving cream”.  I can’t help feeling responsible for letting him die, because I got there a few seconds late.  My soul is wracked with sorrow and regret as tears spring to my eyes for the millionth time.

There’s an old saying that, in war “the lucky ones die”.  This is my reality.  I am coming to grips with the truth that while I left Iraq in 2005…Iraq never left me; and according to my psychiatrist, it never will.  At times the flashbacks weigh me down with reminders of my failures as I watched other soldiers die, and I feel like Atlas must have, with the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I struggle daily with the constant cacophony of intrusive thoughts, images, and reminders of war I can’t control; which quickly spiral into anxiety, depression or thoughts of suicide.  It’s moments like this I wish I could just shrug and make the memories go away.

So, I head to the nearest river in search of peace and quiet, and something happens when I get knee-deep in the water somewhere.  I see the wind as it whispers through the aspens; hear the cleansing gurgle of water rushing over rocks; and feel the force of the water embracing me through my waders.

I read somewhere that the voice of God is “as the sound of rushing waters”.  And you know what? When I get into the thick of nature, among the pines, great oaks, and aspens; below the sparrow, osprey, and eagle; into the stream, river, or lake; I believe He speaks to me.  As I throw my line upstream and carefully watch as it sweeps past me on the flow.  I focus on my tiny fly and repeat the process again and again hoping to see the water break as the fly is sucked down by a king-sized trout.  In that moment, only me and my fly exist in the world; everything else disappears.  This is when God speaks on word to me: peace.

If I can’t get to the water, I pull out my vice instead and start tying.  As I focus on a size 22 hook, fine thread, feathers, and dubbing; all the bad juju vanishes.  I cherish these moments most when the horrible memories of war are absent and there is simply peace.

If you want to know the impact fishing or being in nature have on veterans and their families; it heals the scars that war leaves on our body, mind, and spirit.  It can recharge emotional batteries, and even give us the will to live.  When 22 veterans take their lives every day in America, shouldn’t we do everything to save those lives? If someone hadn’t taken me fly fishing in my darkest hour I would have been just another sad statistic; one of the 22 a day. But, my family still has me in their lives because someone saw the impact it could have.  Fly fishing gave me back the will to live.  Fly fishing, literally, saved my life.  If it can do that for one veteran, how much greater an impact could we have if more veterans were introduced to it before they reached the end of their ropes?

Source One Serenity in German Tagesspiegel

It is really wonderful to see the Umpqua National Forest front and center in a Berlin travel magazine with a circulation of 115,902.

Here is the translation:

Into the wood

In the northwest of the USA there are dense wilderness and a lot of eccentrics. The perfect habitat for encounters with Bigfoot

Joe Beelart is standing 1800 meters above sea level on Mount Hood, not far from the US metropolis Portland. His view goes south, to forests and the peaks on the horizon. “Look at that green down there! No cities, almost only wilderness – optimal conditions,” he says. “We assume there are 30 to 35 creatures living there.”

Beelart is 70 years old and was once with the Marines – afterwards he worked with pumps in the industry for decades. A down-to-earth guy. Nevertheless, he is convinced that strange creatures are hidden in the forests of his homeland: Bigfoots. He’s not the only one. In Oregon you will find more than Portland – the world capital of the hipster – the state is also known for its eccentrics. Together with the neighboring states of California and Washington, it is one of the places where the North American counterpart to the Yeti was most frequently spotted.

The native Americans already reported of a large, human-like species, hairy as a monkey, they called it Sasquatch (‘hairy giant’). The name Bigfoot came up at the end of the 19th century. To this day, cautiously speaking, the evidence is rather meagre. There are eyewitness reports, notoriously bad photos and alleged footprints on soft ground.

Nevertheless, stories about the creatures have found their way into books, films and music. Bigfoot is an ‘icon like Michael Jordan’ writes an anthropologist who has studied the phenomenon. In Portland, bookstores offer a ‘Sasquatch Field Guide’, a handy, water-repellent booklet designed to help you find your way through the wild. There are postcards with ‘Oregon Bigfoot Country’ written on them, you can buy cups, thermos flasks or notebooks with the Bigfoot painting and ‘footprints’ made of chocolate and peanut butter.

Joe Beelart claims to have met his first Bigfoot in the early 1990s. After a Christmas dinner, he saw a creature scurry out of the brushwood. The topic never let him go, he even published a book. It’s called ‘The Oregon Bigfoot Highway’. This is a road in the untouched area near Mount Hood. Allegedly there are a lot of hints to the forest species. The book gathers ‘31 sightings, 43 tracks and 69 incidents related to Bigfoot’.

Beelart’s wife Sharon is an agnostic, as she says about herself. The couple regularly go camping with their Bigfooter friends, including engineers and a retired teacher, and regularly the strangest things happen to them, especially in the dark. Like the other night, they all heard different sounds at two o’ clock at night, Sharon Beelart says. “Something tampered with our cooler. Bang, bang, bang, bang, and after a break, bang, bang, bang again.” About 200 hours in the forest lie between two references to Bigfoot, Joe Beelart knows from experience. But you can also help a little. “Bigfoots are curious.” It would be good to draw attention to yourself. The creatures were also attracted by fruit.

Two days later, in the Umpqua National Forest. The area is more than four times bigger than Berlin. It is located in a part of the Cascade Mountains in the south of Oregon. You can walk here all day long without seeing a human being. On this day, the ‘Windigo Pass Trail’ was about 25 kilometers downhill slowly, through forests with mighty Douglas firs, yellow pines, hemlock trees, along streams and swamps – up to the bunker hill campground, directly on a lake.

If Joe Beelart’s tip also works with a banana peel? Unfortunately, Guide Rusty doesn’t have more fruit. Then we just put the one in front of the tent. “So you’re going to hunt bigfoot tonight?” Rusty laughs. He breaks branches and throws them into the campfire, which crackles and glows while it becaomes dark around.

Rusty, Oregonian in the fifth generation and proud owner of an old Toyota pick-up truck, is living in the surrounding area and offered his help as a local expert. Otherwise he mainly gives courses in fly fishing, for visitors as well as for traumatized veterans. The North Umpqua River is a popular spot for this, its surroundings are the touristic center of the area. Rusty was a soldier, fought in Iraq and worked in Germany for the US Army. He doesn’t like to talk about the former President Bush, and he has a similarly clear opinion on the existence of bigfoots. He gets his baseball cap straightened up and smiles smugly: “Better watch out for the bears, they might like your banana peel. When a cougar comes, you don’t have to worry about it. Then you’ll be dead anyway.”

There are hundreds of species of animals in the Umpqua Forest, most of them harmless. Deer, foxes, bats, owls. “My first rule: Turn off your phones completely while you’re here,” says Rusty. “Only then can you really perceive nature.” On the other hand, there’s hardly any reception anyway. Although the area is not as wild as it seems at first glance, there are some areas of forestry that have been cut down and replanted. But there is no mass tourism yet. Shy forest creatures would undoubtedly feel at home here.

Then the night comes. At first only rain knocks against the tent walls. In the early hours of the morning there are suddenly suspicious noises outside. A cougar? Or is it one of Joe Beelart’s barefoot friends? Another tip Beelart gave me, was how to difference between the sounds of bears and bigfoots: “If the roar lasts longer than ten seconds and varies in height, it’s probably a bigfoot”. But it only rustles briefly, and the next moment it is already over.

The suspicion is obvious that you only have to drive through Oregon’s lonesome, majestic forests often enough – and with a bit of imagination, the mysterious phenomena appears on their own. Beelart is not a missionary; he only talks about Bigfoot when asked, “that’s the same like politics or religion. He prefers to talk about how ice ages shaped the landscape and which forests fell victim to fires in the summer. The best thing about the Sasquatch search is “Flora, fauna, butterflies, the night sky,” he says.

On the second day in the Umpqua Forest there is another hike of 25 kilometers. ‘Dread and Terror’ is the name of the way, part of the ‘North Umpqua Trail’. The name, translated: Fear and terror, deceived. In fact, the path is even more beautiful than the one the day before, it leads directly along the river, on shaded paths under deciduous and coniferous trees, over moss, past ferns and waterfalls. And this time there is even a human encounter in the form of a mountain biker.

At the very end we have to climb a steep slope. Here a hot spring. People squat in different warm water holes and look at the wooded slopes on the other side of the river. There is no entrance and changing rooms, the clothes are left somewhere on the shore. Obviously, the hike was a journey back in time back to the 1970s. The smell of weed is in the air, and a man dressed only with a guitar plays songs. In the basin with the warmest water there is a young couple from Austin, Texas, who have just moved to Oregon. The woman points to her very hairy fiancé, who kept his woolly hat even in the hot spring. “Your search is over,” she says.”You found Bigfoot.”


“Catch and Release”: Never a Dull Moment with the Moores

Rusty spent a night at Frank and Jeannie’s place before meeting with Bjoern, a German journalist hiking and documenting the North Umpqua Trail:

“When I arrive it’s always quiet. Usually I walk over and say hello to Frank’s pets in the casting pond. Then a quick look for hazardous trees.

Frank and Jeannie arrive and I’m immediately recruited for labor. Afterwards Jeannie puts together dinner and Frank finds the latest crossword puzzle. Good luck distracting him from the News Review’s puzzle section. Jeannie mentions something about a fishing net upstairs in case I need it, but I missed the reason why.

After we turn in for the night, I head upstairs. It isn’t until I’m upstairs in the bathroom, that I realize what Jeannie meant. A bat was residing in the apartment! Of course, the most opportune moment for a bat to appear is when I’m on the toilet, in a small bathroom with the doors closed. Multi-tasking on the pot is not easy.

After a few minutes of getting to know my new friend, he was eventually caught with the net. Although Frank’s recommendation was to “give it a couple of good whacks”(which was warmly received by my wife). My new friend was then released to hopefully provide entertainment for future guests…”


Press Release: Our First Fly Fishing School

“I hear the call of the River and Lake this morning,

Although I cannot answer it.

A peacefulness is upon me,

Knowing the serenity of time well spent

In a place which cleanses the heart and soul.”

On the first morning after coming home from a seven-day fly fishing school with four other veterans, a disabled Vietnam-era veteran spoke the heartfelt words above.

The fly fishing school where this transformation took place was held at Lemolo Lake Resort from September 23 through 29, 2017.

The school was established by Source One Serenity, a 1½-years-old organization from Roseburg. Its founder, Rusty Lininger, a post-9/11 combat veteran, has experienced firsthand how fly fishing literally saved his life, and became an outlet and source of peace after he had attempted suicide.

Now he shares that healing experience with our local veterans, and this week-long fly fishing school at Lemolo, located on the North Umpqua River, became the first-ever school of its kind in our area.  Our thanks go to the funding from Earle B. Stewart American Legion Post 16, the US Navy Fleet Reserve Association Branch 328, and several individual donors. There was also support from other veterans. One post-9/11 veteran cooked homemade Argentinian meals and fresh bread. Another local veteran brought his boat for the whole week to add an important element to the overall experience.

The week was a complete immersion into all aspects of fly fishing for beginners. The curriculum was based on profound personal experience of Source One Serenity’s founder, which enabled him to teach all the necessary fundamentals that the attending veterans needed to know. Once the school ended, they could continue to practice fly fishing on their own.

P1060803.JPGA post-9/11 Army veteran said at the end of the school, “I do feel I have enough knowledge that I feel confident I can pass it on. The skills acquired this last week on how to tie flies, tie knots, and how to use them when fishing the fly rod, is something that, while it is a lifetime learning process, I have enough knowledge to teach my friends and my kid.” To witness him cradle a wild brook trout, his first fish ever, on the first fly he tied, almost made Rusty cry. He got it! This magic, which is almost impossible to pass on in an hour or even a couple of days, shows the need for such schools. This is the solution: To detach from the past and be immersed in the moment.

This vet also added, “Fly fishing gave me hope. My mind (usually) deals with racing thoughts, PTSD, and night terrors. Fly fishing made my mind calm, and all my thoughts became nothing, and that is something that hasn’t happened in a long time. My sleep has never been better, and I’ve had no night terrors while up here.”

Fly fishing has healed the lives of many veterans. The best example is Frank Moore, a World War II veteran. Healed by fly fishing, he became a legendary steward of the North Umpqua River.

While working in Outdoor Recreation for the US Army in Germany, Rusty met Frank Moore in Luxembourg in 2013. Frank inspired Rusty to relocate from Europe to Roseburg to start this endeavor and to share the healing he achieved through fly fishing with other veterans.

Fly fishing has been known as a therapeutic support for a wide variety of ailments, as well as for general health promotion. Fly fishing aids health and well-being through the trance-like, repetitive motions of casting, the calming sound of moving water, and the serenity of being in natural surroundings. These calm-inducing qualities provide a healthy distraction from the torment of traumatic experiences. It is also the type of activity that quickly brings people together through a shared, positive experience. None of the participants of this fly fishing school knew each other, but after the third day, they were exchanging contact information!

This school was definitely more than just fly fishing. The vets were given an inside look at Soda Springs Dam. It recently went through massive reconstruction to restore the native salmon and steelhead runs, opening several miles of new spawning habitat.

P1060741.JPGRichard Grost, the aquatic scientist from PacifiCorp, North Umpqua Hydro, showed the vets a group of actively spawning chinook salmon and described in detail what they were doing, and why.  Being so close to the immensity of the fish passage facilities, and the intensity of the salmons’ spawning drive, were very humbling experiences. Rusty said, “You’d think with Pacific Power it would only be about energy. Boy, was I wrong!” The outing with Richard Grost was one of the highlights of the fly fishing school, including the visit to a salmon spawning habitat. Richard said, “I’m happy to have been a part of the inaugural Source One Serenity retreat.”

Samuel Moyer from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife took the guys out on an evening date and into the night to enjoy Lemolo Reservoir and its “fishy locals.” The mission was to catch, measure, weigh, and record the number of fish in a region of the North Umpqua. A concern for the past couple of years was the absence of spawning kokanee (land-locked sockeye). Capturing one and spotting many others spawning brought comfort, and promises a bright future for this fishery. Samuel also went into detail on the various local fish species and feeding habits. This was an inspiring opportunity for our participants.

On the last day of the school, no one wanted to leave. The serene place, the bonding with other vets, and the entire fly fishing experience had all contributed to the positive effects of healing.

This first fly fishing school was proof for this growing organization that it completely fulfills its mission to empower our veterans to reclaim their sense of purpose.

Source One Serenity is already raising money for fly fishing programs in 2018.  We also welcome our veterans to get in touch with us and become part of our community.



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