Maryland Comptroller Virtually Presents Charles County Schaefer Award to Founder of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing

July 31, 2020

Comptroller Peter Franchot virtually presented the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award for Charles County to retired United States Navy Capt. Ed Nicholson, founder of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF). Capt. Nicholson accepted the award on behalf of the program that has become a national model for the rehabilitation of disabled veterans and military personnel.

After his own stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Capt. Nicholson founded the nonprofit organization as a way to augment the medical treatment of injured servicemen and women. The physical and emotional rehabilitative benefits of fly fishing help these heroes heal and foster their transition from military to civilian life, which embodies the principles held dear by William Donald Schaefer, the late Baltimore mayor, Maryland governor and comptroller.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is recognized as an innovative leader and model in the field of therapeutic outdoor recreation for people with disabilities. PHWFF partners with Department of Defense hospitals, Warrior Transition Units and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and clinics to serve disabled active military personnel and disabled veterans with more than 200 programs in the United States. Fly Fishers International, Trout Unlimited and independent fly fishing clubs are host partners for PHWFF at Department of Defense facilities throughout the nation.

Since 2012, Comptroller Franchot has annually traveled to each of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions to honor an individual or organization serving their community. This year, all Schaefer Award presentations will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Individual press releases will be sent announcing each of the honorees, along with a link to view the virtual ceremony.