MPulse Software, Inc believes strongly in supporting our global community by giving back. Perhaps no group is more deserving of that support than those who serve in our nation's military. That's why MPulse recently joined with Rivers of Recovery to help sponsor two fly-fishing trips for combat-wounded veterans on Oregon's majestic McKenzie River.
Rivers of Recovery, 501c3 nonprofit organization, provides intensive recreational therapy opportunities for combat veterans who have been physically affected, or are suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post traumatic shock disorder (PTSD). The organization's scientifically designed program fosters confidence-building through outdoor activities and talk therapy in a relaxed, supportive environment.
MPulse donated 5% of its May 2013 sales revenues to help sponsor two, two-day trips of six veterans each, and the overall operations of Rivers of Recovery. While it started out as a simple fundraising effort for a good cause, MPulse employees soon became invested in the Rivers of Recovery mission. Jason Johnson, MPulse's vice president of sales and marketing, began advocating for a fly fishing trip on Oregon's scenic McKenzie River near the MPulse headquarters -- the first time the Rivers of Recovery organization has held trips there.
Johnson reached out to Chris Daughters -- owner of Caddis Fly, a Eugene, Ore., fly fishing shop -- to organize the trips. Johnson and Daughters worked closely with Amy Simon, executive director of Rivers of Recovery, to ensure the trips followed the therapeutic guidelines set forth by Rivers of Recovery. Each group of six veterans received two back-to-back days of guided fly fishing, which took place July 21-22 and July 24-25, 2014. The river guides were provided by Daughters, who also arranged lodging for the group in his cabin at Loloma Lodge in Blue River, Ore. The experience was extremely powerful for both the organizers and the participants.
"Fly fishing is more than a hobby. It's Zen meditation -- the flowing water, fresh air, sunshine. It's therapy," explains Johnson, who is a U.S. Army veteran and fly fisherman himself. "It was truly humbling to join this group of selfless men and women for two beautiful days on the river, and to see the impact the experience had on each of them. The change that happens over two days is miraculous."
Eugene area veterans Troy Givens, Michael Oreskovic, and Jacob Courtright volunteered as camp hosts for the trips, organizing the food, social activities, and transportation. All three are former participants in Rivers of Recovery trips, and they were well versed in the process and the therapeutic benefits of the program.
"Soldiers come back with scars that aren't always visible," said Oreskovic, a U.S. Army veteran. "Rivers of Recovery gives vets a chance to work through difficult experiences and find their sense of purpose and self-confidence again. It made a difference in my recovery, and I wanted to pay it forward with other veterans."
The veterans weren't the only ones who came back from the river with a different perspective. Coordinating and participating in the Rivers of Recovery trips also left the organizers galvanized by the experience.
"We were inspired by the changes these trips made in the lives of these deserving vets," Johnson said. "It was great to see firsthand what giving back means. At MPulse we believe in actively supporting the communities where we do business and helping those in need. Our senior leaders are active in Rotary International and our employees receive paid time off for community service, which they use to support numerous worthy organizations. It's part of who we are."
MPulse would like to thank the following people for their support, which made these trips possible:
- MPulse customers, for their generous donations and enthusiasm for the project
- Amy Simon, Rivers of Recovery executive director, for her support and encouragement
- Chris Daughters, owner of Caddis Fly, for providing the guided tours and lodging
- Troy Givens, Michael Oreskovic, and Jacob Courtright, Rivers of Recovery camp hosts, for organizing the on-the-ground logistics and emotional support for the veterans.