Category: Uncategorized

A River Heals

Casting it Forward

A River Heals Unseen Wounds

Frank Moore is a WWII veteran who after his deployment in Normandy in 1944 became a conservationist and land steward. He healed his unseen wounds from the war through the river, his fly rod and steelhead. By experiencing firsthand the healing power of nature, and the rebirth of his soul, he had a new mission to protect the magnificent gem, the North Umpqua River from heavy logging in the 60s and 70s. And he did…

What a stroke of serendipity brought Rusty, co-founder of Source One Serenity, and Frank together in Luxembourg in 2013! Frank became a leading example and a mentor for Rusty to continue serving his country.

How many veterans Rusty already took to the mountains and streams on the upper North Umpqua to let them heal their wounds, express gratitude and experience oneness with nature.

To come full circle, together with other veterans Rusty started building an oak bench to honor and commemorate Frank Moore and to celebrate the passage of the bill on Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary signed into law in March 2019. The Sanctuary is 100,000 acres of Steamboat Creek area, a tributary of the North Umpqua River and one of the world’s most famous salmon and steelhead fisheries. The bill ensures that the river will remain as it is today, and protects this place of Oregon life-long from man’s interference. But there is more. As Frank said, it serves us to be a place to experience a rebirth of our souls.

Unveiling the secret…

Oak bench to be placed at Canton campground in the Umpqua National Forest

Mindfulness, Woo-woo, and Fly Fishing

By Elena Lininger

Co-Founder of Source One Serenity and an Army veteran spouse

Mindfulness is such a buzzword nowadays. According to Google Trends, search for this word on Google has quadrupled in the last 15 years! Mindfulness became not only a tool for psychologists to treat their patients’ stress and anxiety, but some big companies such as General Mills, Aetna, Google and Salesforce swear by mindfulness. For example, in the tallest building of San Francisco, Salesforce Tower there are meditation rooms for employees on every floor. Even elite US special forces went through mindfulness training, and it’s been proven to be a powerful tool to improve their working memory and attention.

There are still some people who consider it as a “woo-woo”. I agree that it is something very different, kind of mysterious and it is intangible (it’s not a pill, right?). Also, the effects of practicing mindfulness through meditation doesn’t happen overnight, but regular practice especially on a daily basis brings the healing aspects. It is scientifically proven that mindfulness can help not only with stress, anxiety, pain, and illness, but also with more creativity and better problem-solving.

A wonderful Whole Health Improvement Program team at the Roseburg VA Medical Center offers a range of different courses and classes around mindfulness to our veterans (almost 13 % of the population in Douglas County are veterans!). I also found out that even in our small rural community there are certified mindfulness teachers.

Sometimes we even don’t realize (and we don’t need to) that we are mindful when we are in certain situations or surroundings. When I am on the North Umpqua River, my senses are engaged: seeing beautiful landscape and moving water that doesn’t stop, hearing water burbling, and smelling something fishy and earthy. There are no thoughts, no judgements. It is an experience of being one-on-one with powerful Nature and Universe. One student under Dalai Lama taught me that “non-judgmental observation is mindfulness.” We in the Umpqua Valley are very lucky with abundant resources to practice mindfulness without knowing it: being in green landscape surrounded by magnificent rivers, streams and waterfalls.

My husband’s life was saved by fly fishing. I did extensive research on this, and I admire that fly fishing is actually a very mindful activity. When you’re standing in the water, looking at the stream flow to cast the line, can you think of anything else than just being there? Unless you are attached to your expectations to catch fish (if you do, then just drop these expectations and be mindful!). Although they say that mindfulness has no side effects, but I know of someone who after a fly fishing retreat reported of being drunk on peace.

Gary Zukav with Fellow Veterans

Gary Zukav with Fellow Veterans

A group of veterans met with Gary Zukav, a 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 service as a Green Beret in Vietnam.

This time Gary Zukav met with fellow veterans on the North Umpqua River of Southern Oregon, and he explained why. In Part 1 Gary tells his story with vulnerability and honesty, and how he has come a long way from the external power of badge, boots, uniform, and weapons to authentic empowerment. From insecurities and fear to experiences that we are more than our minds and bodies, and as he puts it in The Seat of the Soul, there is “another kind of power, a power that loves life in every form it appears, a power that does not judge what it encounters, a power that perceives meaningfulness and purpose in the smallest details upon the Earth. This is authentic power.”

But are we all ready to expand beyond our perceptions of physical reality and into this new realm of experience where “the origins of our deeper values are found”? Part 2 is a conversation where other veterans of several generations share their experiences, and some admitted that it was the most thought-provoking conversation.

As Maya Angelou said, “When Zukav’s ideas stop challenging you, you will laugh with the wonderful laughter of the discoverer who has found a new continent”. Talking to Gary Zukav and Linda Francis under majestic old trees of the Umpqua National Forest is an insight into Gary’s teachings through his books, including The Seat of the Soul.

Be the creator of authentic power on a new continent.

Nature is loud with silence

NATURE IS LOUD WITH SILENCE

By Keith Glovan

Post-9/11 US Army veteran from Roseburg, OR

I have known Rusty [the co-founder of Source One Serenity] for some time now; heard of his adventures but never partook in the action. These past few months I’ve been trying to process so many things on my own always hoping to drown things out with “noise”.

Where we went, nature was loud with silence. Ok, so long story short: Being out in the wilderness with Rusty, fishing, walking, camping. He reminded me that it’s not about the destination…it’s about the journey.

I had a hard time seeing life from a wider perspective. Nature has a way of making a person remember who we are and where we come from. Having the opportunity to completely disconnect from people and sort things out on my own has not only helped me mentally but it has also helped me emotionally and in my marriage.

It’s a great time, Rusty definitely makes it worth while to be in the woods! Bring bug spray, and peanut butter cookies!

Thank you, brother.

If you want to read it in pdf format,

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.

Press Release: SOURCE ONE SERENITY RECEIVES $16,000 FOR STARTING ITS SOCIAL ENTERPRISE, A WORM FARM

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 sourceoneserenity.wordpress.com 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: womenvethike@dev.sourceoneserenity.org.

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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?