BOZEMAN, Mont. – The Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation hopes their biggest fundraiser can help them keep supporting post-9/11 combat veterans in Montana through therapeutic fly fishing and other resources.
The Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation (WQW) helps injured military veterans by providing a respite from the stresses of war, the monotony of lengthy hospital stays and traditional therapy as well as the many day-to-day struggles involved in their journey home.
According to Chief Development Officer Emily Sather the foundation has 25 weeks of programming planned for next year which includes a variety of their main therapeutic fly fishing programs which helps more than 900 participants each year.
The "Warrior Taste Fest" is the nonprofit's biggest fundraiser which takes place the night before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and will feature keynote speaker Saul Martinez.
“I was a two-week-old junior in high school, walked into my parents’ bedroom and saw the first tower ablaze, made the ten-minute drive to school and on the way we listened to the news, I got out just before the second tower was hit," Martinez said. "At that moment on that day for me it wasn’t an issue of if I was going to join the military, at that point it became a matter of when.”
Martinez enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2006 and was deployed to Iraq in 2007 when his vehicle was struck by an explosively formed penetrator IED in combat killing his two friends, SPC Kyle Little and SGT Blake Stephens.
Martinez survived but left his combat days behind after a bi-lateral leg amputation, severe tissue loss, and a traumatic brain injury.
After his scarring experience and transition out of the Army, Martinez and his family moved to Montana in 2010.
Martinez graduated from Montana State University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and now works for WQW as the Director of Warrior Services, helping veterans transition from military to civilian life.
“When I left here I knew this is where I needed to be that’s how hard it hit me, it was the people, it was the fly fishing, it was the water, it was the completely different environment than the army," Martinez said.
The 2021 "Warrior Taste Fest" is being held on the evening of Sept. 10 at Haynes Pavilion at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds.
You can find more information, browse auction items and find out how to get tickets here.