“So that we may have a better way of life” – Karl C DeVries

On behalf of the Veterans participating in the fishing trips hosted by Hand in Hand Outdoors; we would like to express our gratitude in allowing us to enjoy the benefits of fishing. For many of our Veterans it is difficult living outside of the comfort zones and routines that are created by the feeling of isolation. Hand in Hand Outdoors has allowed these Veterans a safe environment where they can interact with other Veterans, eliminating some of the social isolation that they find themselves in. Hand in Hand Outdoors has given our counselors an opportunity to work with our Veterans in a safe environment outside of the traditional office setting.

Our Gratitude is also extended to all of the community partners who help to keep Hand in Hand Outdoors functioning and accessible to the Veterans in our community With your continuous support, Hand in Hand Outdoors will be available to the men and women who have given of themselves so that we may have a better way of life.

President Lincoln in his second inaugural address stated, “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his organ.” This statement was adapted by the Department of Veterans Affairs as their motto. Hand in Hand Outdoors is representing this promise by reminding Veterans that their sacrifice no matter how great or small is appreciated and not forgotten.

On behalf of the DeVries family I would like to thank you for allowing us to go fishing aboard the Freedom’s Dream. It is rare when I can spend time with my little brothers especially all of them at the same time. With the two youngest (Bryce and Andy) still on active duty it is hard to line up everyone’s leave at the same time. Being able to get together helps us build new common experiences and make a stronger family.

Once again thank you on behalf of Monty (USN Seabee & 2 tour Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) Veteran), Bryce (USN Corpman & Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) Veteran), Andy (USN Catapult Mechanic & 3 tour Global War on Terror (Arabian Gulf) Veteran) and myself (USMC Landing Support Specialist & Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran) Thank you very much.

“My life is better” — W. Long

Thank you for what you have done to assist me and my fellow veterans. It has been over 4 decades since I returned from Vietnam. Those years have not been easy ones, but when I had the opportunity to be aboard your boat with fellow veterans things changed. Life for me is better now, somehow I am at peace whenever I get the chance to come along. Thank you again. Semper Fi. W. Long.

“I want to thank you” — “Blake Croft”

This is Blake Croft. I want to thank all of you guys for what you are doing, I have really had a difficult time transitioning back to civilian life. I have found that being outdoors help a lot. I had a great time on the Yuba fishing trip. Thanks again,Sgt. (Retired) Garth “Blake” Croft Jr.

“What you are doing is remarkable” — Mike Humphries”

Steve there is something that I have not told you, Thank you for the opportunity to be part of something that is much bigger than all of us. You need to know that when I finally came to the realization that I will never be the old Mike any more due to the horrific things I saw and did I was lost.I am finding a new me that I am starting to like and become familiar with. This I think is who God wanted me to be and to be this person I had to go through the hardships that I did to get here. You my brother, are helping me get there by giving me this chance. I will not let you down and will always be there when you need me. That’s what families are for. I am your brother and will be until I take my last breath. Let me know what you need and you will have it.
Very Respectfully, Mike Humphries, USMC (retired)

“We can’t thank you enough” — Carin Green

On behalf of the Green family, we wanted to personally thank Captain Steve Henline and his assistant for taking our family out on Freedom’s Dream. My son is in the army currently and it was the first time he had been with his siblings, as well as their children, since being deployed. Captain Henline was able to take us out on Utah Lake and allowed my grandchildren to fish. The comments and excitement from the children were overwhelming, plus it was a time for the adults to spend time with their children and each other. The kids were excited, tickled, and watched over the sides at the ducks, birds, some fish, and the water as it flowed while we were trolling in the lake. Their joy was beyond measure. Captain Henline was very patient with the kids, and allowed them each a turn to navigate the boat out on the water. Needless to say, it was a highlight of their vacation and time together.
Thank you, Steve for what you do for the current servicemen as well as the veterans. You and your organization is one amazing tribute to the service and patriotism of our soldiers. May we thank you for so much that you do for the community and for everyone. You are and always will be a patriotic hero and example to me and my family. Thank you!
Carin Green and family – 1st Lieutenant Chip Green


“My heart was warmed” — Bruce Brewer, Lt Col

My heart was warmed when I watched the video and witnessed the great difference being made by the organization. It makes me feel proud to be on the board, although not actively because of my current Middle East deployment. It is great to see the positive media exposure and I will be excited to see where this all goes when I return home at years end.

This weekend I will be leading a Memorial Day tribute to honor our fallen warriors in the current conflict. It is truly sobering to see the ultimate sacrifices that have been made and continue to be made. At the conclusion of the memorial tribute, we will be honoring former Lt Michael P. Murphy (Navy Seal) by completing a “Hero Workout,” consisting of: 1 Mile run, 100 pull-ups 200 push-ups 300 squats and then concluding with a 1 mile run. Wish me luck!

“Sincere appreciation” — Gregory Shechan

dwr-logoI would like to personally thank you, and your staff, for the time and resources that you have donated in order to help the disabled anglers and veterans in our state have a fishing experience of a lifetime. I caught the episode with Adam Eakle and I wanted to express my sincere appreciation to you.

The difference you are making in the lives of those who have had the opportunity to fish on your boats is immeasurable. I want nothing but the best for you and your organization. If there is anything that myself or the division can do to help, please don’t hesitate to call on us.

I appreciate your willingness to share your excitement for the outdoors with others. It’s that Kind of passion and dedication for the wildlife of our great state that will help inspire others to get involved and to make a difference.

See the original letter.

“They deserve our respect and resources” — Mike Mendenhall

My Mother has worked with special needs children for 22 years, I have personally seen the positive results that come from providing life experiences for these kids and their families.

Is there a nobler cause than helping to give back to Veterans who have fought to preserve our freedom? They deserve our respect and resources to help them overcome whatever challenges they have, Hand in Hand Outdoors provides that avenue, I’m proud to be a part of it.

“A project that was bigger than me” — Matt Barber

I have wanted to get involved with a project that was bigger than me or my business and that gave back to the community. When I heard about the idea from Captain Steve, I was on board from the beginning. The stories of these Veterans and kids with disabilities are just amazing and really touch me. I’m humbled to be a part of such an organization.

“It is always fun to spend time out on the water” — Karl DeVries

On behalf of the Provo Vet Center, we would like to thank you for allowing us to participate in the Veteran fishing excursions hosted by your organization. By attending these outings Veterans can work towards reducing social isolation, while working to improve their interdependent communication skills, and build additional social support systems. Our clients have commented that although they may not always catch a fish, it is always fun to spend time out on the water with other Veterans.

Once again, thank you and we look forward to working with you.

“We felt very honored” — Creative Graphics

The efforts from Hand in Hand Outdoors is such a great service. We felt very honored to be a part of this great cause to help wounded vets and disabled children enrich their lives.

“Just wanted to thank you” — Tammy Beach

Just wanted to thank you for allowing me the honor of being a part of this amazing organization. I truly feel blessed to have the experiences I am with very amazing people. I am certain that I walk away each time a better person because of the interactions I have had with all the individuals involved. I am lucky! Thank you again for allowing me to participate!

“A word of thanks” — Payson Vets Home

To whom it may concern:

The Hand in Hand Outdoors company has been an amazing asset for our veterans living at the Central Utah Veterans Home here in Payson Utah. As the Recreation Therapy Services Director, I find what our resident’s hobbies are and what they are interested in participating in. One of the most common answers is fishing. Many of our veterans are now in wheelchairs, making it harder to find ideal areas with wheelchair access to fish. Steve Henline with Hand in Hand Outdoors approached me saying he had a pontoon boat made to accommodate wheelchairs and was interested in having our veterans utilize this boat with all the necessary equipment and at no cost to the Veterans.

They provide our Veterans with the equipment, assist in casting, reeling, catching, and even gutting the fish on the trip. We began to fish back in May of this year and continue to fish on a weekly basis.

The Hand in Hand Outdoors has made it possible for many of our Veterans to fish again when they thought it was impossible. Our Veterans look forward to the trips every week. It is amazing the difference in experience getting to fish out on a boat rather then being on the shoreline in a wheelchair. We appreciate all of the amazing support and generosity of the Hand in Hand Outdoors company and look forward to many more fishing trips in the future.

Melodi Bass CTRS
Recreation Therapy Services Director
Central Utah Veterans Home

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