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Teaching Soldiers to fish for a lifetime

Teaching Soldiers to fish for a lifetime
By MaryTherese Griffin, Warrior Care and Transition

ARLINGTON, Va. – We’ve all heard the proverb “Give a man a fish feed him for a day…teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Fishing isn’t just a sport to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Kriegshauser, it’s a passion and one that he is using to help himself and other Soldiers at the Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Riley, Kansas.

“In my opinion fishing is as much an art as it is a skill or hobby,” Kreigshauser said. “I absolutely love fishing. I have been fishing for about 35 years and have fished many locations from Colorado to Florida.” The Combat Engineer arrived at the WTU last January after having spinal surgery for an injury he sustained while on a dismounted route clearance patrol in Afghanistan. Kreigshauser started the fly fishing lure and bait prep class in December that offers instruction on baiting flies and creating lures which is a great continuation of a warm weather sport even if being on the water in Colorado in the winter is not an option.

“I believe that tying flies (making an artificial fly to catch fish) and making lures helps Soldiers relax and focus on the one thing in front of them,” Kreigshauser said. “The feeling of catching a fish on a lure you made makes it so much more enjoyable. They see the work and the time they put into it wasn’t for nothing. I tell the Soldiers, ‘if you don’t like what you make, throw it any way. What is the worst that could happen…you catch a fish?”

The class is anxiously awaiting spring to put their efforts into action. For Kriegshauser, the effort to learn techniques, patience and creativity are much more important to him than trying to hook a fish.

“For me, as [a noncommissioned officer] my job and focus is the Soldiers. I came to the WTU, I lost [being able to lead] Soldiers and I felt that I had little to no purpose because I was not leading Soldiers,” Kreigshauser recalled. “Having this class has given me back what I lost when I first came to the WTU. Now I feel like my old self and I get to teach, coach and mentor again, but in a new way,” he added.

Helping Soldiers learn their new normal through fishing has become a very popular event at Fort Riley and Kriegshauser hopes anyone hearing about the group will give fishing a try.

DISCLAIMER: This article was originally published at the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System Hub (www.didvshub.net). The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

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