CHEYENNE, Wyo (Wyoming News Now) – Water has no scars. That’s the slogan of Platte Rivers Veteran Fly Fishing – used to remind veterans with mental and physical injuries that there is peace to be found through the power of water.
But now they have a new challenge: to navigate these waters without the man who started it all.
In 20-18 we introduced you to Duane Cook, the veteran fly fishing founder of Platte Rivers.
It was founded on the belief that “water does not wear scars” – using fly fishing to help veterans heal wounds of war.
“He wanted people to know what he knew about the results of being able to be outside and face these demons and thoughts, these anxieties that he felt when he was fishing. Joe O’Conner, Chairman of the Board of Platte Rivers, told us.
Duane used fly fishing – and every aspect of it, from rod building, to tying flies, to putting a line in the water. A Vietnam veteran, Duane used his seemingly limitless energy and love for people to make Platte Rivers the success it is today.
Platte Rivers has helped hundreds of veterans – including Army veteran Travis Hipps, who says the program saved his life.
Like many veterans, Travis came back with scars.
“It changed me as a person,” Travis said, “I didn’t think it was when I came back, but it changed me as a person.
War scars and their treatment had prevented Travis from holding up the job in the past. Today, he is preparing to take a job as a professional fishing guide in Colorado.
Platte Rivers was slowed down in 2020 during the pandemic, although they still managed to organize day fishing trips and use the zoom for virtual fly tying clinics.
But then, in December, Platte Rivers received a heavy blow. Duane Cook, their founder and driving force, has passed away. Her passing, Joe says, left a void – but that void doesn’t stop them. People and conditions can change – the mission doesn’t change.
This is what Duane would have wanted. Platte Rivers Treasurer Larry Neasloney said, “Come on, soldier so to speak. And continue what his vision was.
Soldier, continue Duane’s vision, continue his legacy and remember the man – and that means remembering that he was both a man to the people, but first and foremost a passionate family man.
“Duane was first and foremost a husband, a father and a grandfather. O’Connor said, “Platte Rivers was his business he did, but his real passion was for his family.”
We also spoke with Duane’s daughter Jacqueline, who reiterated Joe’s words, adding that he was the best husband, the best father and the best grandfather.
Platte Rivers has every intention of pursuing Duane’s vision – including an honor flight for combat veterans. They plan to keep tying, keep fishing, and keep helping. The organization’s website has a commemorative page for Duane. There is a message there: “Be still, brother. We’ll take it from here.
To learn more about Platte Rivers and what they do, visit their website.
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