I was fortunate enough to be the first veteran Chris took on his Time on the Water Canadian fishing adventure. The time spent in the boat with Chris was time I will never forget. The stories and experiences he shared will stay with me for the remainder of my life. Witnessing Chris catching and releasing a monstrous Musky was an experience that I will always remember.
Aug 6th, 2015 I departed from California and that Thursday night my Uncle Tadd picked me up from the Minneapolis airport. The next morning we were heading over to meet Chris Hansen. Chris put together an amazing fishing trip to take me to Canada as a thank you for serving in the United States Marine Corps from 2001 to 2006. I spent 2 years in Okinawa Japan and did two deployments to Iraq. Several months after the return from my second deployment I was diagnosed with PTSD. Chris also has PTSD from an accident he had. Within the first day we spent 10 hours together on a road trip to Canada. I already felt very comfortable and relaxed when we reached our destination White Birch Lodge in Sioux Narrows, Canada. This trip allowed me to decompress and enjoy Mother Nature while having some fun fishing. Chris contacted me at the perfect time. I had recently lost several family members and friends causing me to have vivid flash back memories which made me very irritable and depressed. This trip allowed me to open up and really express how I felt at the time. It worked like a soothing therapy during the day while we were out on the water. You would feel that much better when the fish started to bite and reeled something in. We even had the chance to fish for Musky, there were several follows from these giant fish, but they didn’t feel like biting. The lodge was great and the staff there was really awesome. I went in for breakfast one morning and they asked what I liked to eat and I said ribs. That evening when we came back to the lodge they made me a giant plate of ribs with all kinds of extra side dishes. This trip allowed me to unwind and really gather my thoughts. I can’t thank everyone who helped make this happen enough. Thank you Chris for taking care of all expenses, driving, fish cleaning and giving up some of those secret fishing spots. I’m now doing really good and feel much better after just a small trip to a beautiful lake. We have already made plans to take my dad who is also a veteran on next year’s trip. Looking forward to try and catch a Musky and get some R & R with my fishing buddy McGradie aka “McMuskie.” Thank you.
My name is Justin Lehman. I did 8 1/2 years in the Army. I did one tour of Iraq from 2009 – 2010. I have also had the greatest honor of being able to pay last respects to my brothers and sisters, from current and past wars, by doing funerals in Arlington National Cemetery. Since being out of the Army, I have become more of a hobbit. I can’t go anywhere where there will a lot of people. I just can’t do it. I met Chris through my VA counselor in an effort to try to get me out of the house. At first, I was wary. Going on a boat, with someone I didn’t know? Nope. Not gonna happen. Then I met him in one of my therapy appointments. He told me that he wanted to just take me out, and a friend so that I would be comfortable, so that I could have a good time, and not have to think about anything but fishing. Get my mind off of everything that I had been through. I agreed. We met up on July 18 and my friend and I followed Chris up to where the lake is. That day was one of the best days I have had in a very long time. He didn’t pry into any of my background. He just has this presence or aura around him that makes you want to just open up and talk to him. Being on the lake with him and fishing with him and my friend distressed, cleared my head, and made me relax more than anything I have done and tried over the 8 months since being out of the service. We cracked jokes all day, we had lunch and pop, which Chris kindly provided for us, and he gave me good pointers on fishing. Chris is an awesome guy and I can’t wait to be able to get out on the lake and fish with him again. I really appreciate everything man. That day was an amazing day and it brought me out of a funk that I had been in for a couple of weeks. We should definitely get together again to go fishing again. Maybe Bone lake like you were talking about? But I will leave that up to you. I know that you said that this is something you are setting up for veterans that is more than a hand shake, but dude. Thank you so much. I really really appreciate it and had an awesome day. I think that I opened up more to you and Dave that day then to anyone else that I have talked to outside of therapy. One last time, thank you so much.
I’d like to give you a great big thanks for your ‘time on the water’ program. The fishing trip to lake of the woods, Ontario was great. Chris put us on walleye and pike every day, including a 31″ walleye I reeled in. As a vet it’s really nice to get such a nice thanks from fellow citizens. Again thanks to Greg and Charley for making it possible, and to Chris for bringing us up there and giving us the run of his boat. It was just GREAT!
What Chris is providing the veterans via ‘Time on the Water’ is simply wonderful! What better way to say thank you to a well deserving military hero than to share an all expenses paid fishing adventure somewhere in MN, WI or Ontario for trophy Walleye, Bass, Northern and Musky. Myself and the MN NHL Alumni stand firmly behind this organization and its cause and will be involved in future adventures on the water.