By Paul Butler
It is high time for some long overdue introductions from the WSCTU’s Veterans Committee. My name is Paul Butler, LTC, US Army retired. I served in the army for 29+ years, retiring in 2015. I was fortunate enough to serve in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa among some 21 other foreign countries (yes, I know Africa is a continent).
My “XO” is Brian Bonham, SSGT, USAF, Montana Air National Guard. Brian still actively serves with the MANG, performing duties as a Mission Qualified Loadmaster for C130 aircraft, which garners him a lot of flight time. In the civilian world, Brian works as the Membership Marketing Coordinator for a non-profit, 501 (C)(3) organization here in Missoula.
Brian and I thought we’d take this opportunity to let you know what it is the Veterans Committee does.
We visualize the VC’s mission as twofold. First, we want to recognize, and get to know all of the WSCTU veterans. And what better way to do that than during a fly fishing outing or other social event? It is our intention to organize several such gatherings for the WSCTU vets going forward - so stay tuned.
Secondly, we reach out to assist disabled American veterans through the cathartic experience fly fishing offers. We accomplish that by teaming up with and assisting Warriors and Quiet Waters, a very special organization located in Bozeman that most members are familiar with. They deal exclusively with assisting service-related disabled vets. Our primary fundraiser in support of Warriors and Quiet Waters is the annual WSCTU Fly-Tie-a-Thon. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it as well. More information on this coming year’s Fly-Tie-a-Thon to come.
Brian and I know firsthand that the experiences and qualities that our veterans bring to the WSCTU, as a result of their time in service, can be valuable to Trout Unlimited.
To recognize these veterans we’d like to post a photo, and brief write-up in the chapter’s monthly newsletter about each of you. It is a way for all of the WSCTU membership to get to know you.
So, we are asking those vets who might be interested in doing this to email us a photo of you in uniform (or not, if you prefer), with a brief write up of what branch, when, where, your MOS/AFSC, and how long that you served. We will then post this in each monthly newsletter. Brian and I will start by posting that intel for both of us.