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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Military & Veterans Organizations, Rehabilitative Care, Veterans

Mission: Through the experience of fly fishing in Montana, Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation is a catalyst for positive change in the lives of post-9/11 combat veterans and their loved ones.

Results: All therapeutic programs are based out of Quiet Waters Ranch, 112 peaceful acres near the base of the Bridger Mountains. The ADA-accessible features of Barnard Lodge (the main home at Quiet Waters Ranch) guarantee that every program participant has an experience devoid of physical barriers in which to promote healing and resilience throughout participation in a therapeutic Fishing Experience. Recruiting methods are evolving in an effort to meet the ever changing needs of post-9/11 combat veterans and their families. WQW has also expanded programming to serve military caregivers, spouses, and active duty special operations military personnel, recognizing the positive impact a Fishing Experience has upon service members who continue to experience high stress and kinetic environments. Since 2007, WQW has provided over 705 Fishing Experiences to combat veterans and spouses/caregivers from across the nation.

Target demographics: Post-9/11 combat veterans with visible and unseen wounds who are committed to creating positive change in their lives. WQW also serves their loved ones.

Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2019, WQW served over 139 warriors and spouses/caregivers from across the nation.

Geographic areas served: While programs are based in Bozeman, Montana, WQW serves post-9/11 combat veterans from across the country at no cost to the participant. WQW has expanded its mission to also serve the loved ones of post-9/11 combat veterans.

Programs: Five and six-day fly Fishing Experiences that provide warriors with camaraderie, professional fly-fishing instruction, and respite. Evidence-based outcomes in the realms of resilience, well being, and quality of life have pushed WQW to develop programs for couples, alumni mentors, female combat veterans, military caregivers, and alumni interested in a year-long professional coaching opportunity.

Community Stories

42 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My sister and brother-in-law, experienced Warriors and Quiet Waters, first hand. Then my sister insisted we come to serve with this amazing organization! Wow, what a first class volunteer experience that created life-long memories. This group truly cares about and serves Warriors and their Warrior families. I know I chose to volunteer, but I feel like I left with a gift! I have recommended volunteering with Warriors and Quiet Waters to many people!

RHaderlie

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Two of my greatest passions in life: fly fishing for trout in Montana and helping my brothers and sisters in arms who need it. I am very fortunate. I went to war and returned home without serious injury. There are many who did not. The very first time I volunteered at an event it was plain to see how therapeutic the program was. I have been fly fishing my entire life, so I took this aspect of the sport for granted. Seeing my warrior companion engaged and enthralled in something that I loved so much changed my life. I have been fortunate enough to volunteer with WQW on multiple occasions and even interned there in college. This is truly an organization that sticks to their mission, and bless them all for it.

1 relong15

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is an incredible organization that provides a truly special opportunity for wounded veterans.
I had been out of the Marine Corps for fourteen years and injured for fifteen. I didn’t think that opportunities like this were for me but when I had first gotten hurt, there were either none or I had not heard of any opportunities for wounded combat veterans. I had just completed my schooling and had stumbled upon WQW; with uncertainty about my eligibility or if it was meant for someone in my situation, I applied. I am so glad that I did.
After being accepted and invited, I was greeted at the airport with a warm welcome and that was only the start. It was five magical days of instruction and practical applications of fly fishing. It was also five days of hanging out with others that you had never met but felt like you had served together, creating memories. The experience is unlike any other out there, it’s done right through and through. And to top it all off, all of the gear came home with me so I could implement flyfishing into my life to give me the fulfillment that I was looking for.
Without a doubt, it was a top notch experience ran by people who truly take pride in taking care of others. It is surrounded by a strong supportive community who believe in their vision and their operations. One of the best experiences that I have ever had!

1 Karen S.14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been honored to be a volunteer Companion with WQW from 2017 – 2019 with WQW at the Elk Meadows FX Experience. It truly is an amazing program for the Warriors, and as well as the Companions. It sounds so corny to say I wanted to give back, but it’s true.
We civilians at times forget what the sacrifices our Warriors make in keeping our country free and safe. A week is so short to really get to know your Warrior, but it sets the stage to help them understand we do care and are thankful for their service. I am so happy the program now includes women Warriors!

Even though the programs are small in numbers, they are huge on emotions and meaningful interaction. It’s a memorable and heartfelt moment when your Warrior says, ‘I didn’t think I could ever be in a room with so many civilians. I never wanted to be here, but I came and am so glad I did’. The brotherhood among the Warriors is very real. And that brotherhood coupled with the Companions, the Moms and the fishing guides, is magical.

I have had the good fortune of staying in contact with several of the members of the FX Experiences. I highly recommend the experience to everyone who wants a transforming experience. It has made my life fuller. I hope next year I will be able to return as a Companion!



1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege to serve as a volunteer with WQW as Warrior Companion. I was totally blown away by the level of commitment that I witnessed in every WQW Staff Member and Volunteer. The special group of Warriors noticed it as well and were very touched. Everything at WQW was done with great care and gratitude for the Warriors that served. It was an absolute pleasure to work with this 1st class organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation (WQW) since 2009 as a volunteer companion for fishing experiences (FX's) for wounded warriors. The transformative effect for every warrior is amazing; I have witnessed first-hand the calming and emotionally healing impact upon all participants, both warriors and volunteers. The program is, of course, for the warriors but volunteers come away blessed and touched by the interaction with those who have given so much for our country. A week with WQW does not, cannot, cause all of a warrior's wounds to disappear but the experience shines a light on a positive path forward. It is my hope that a day will come when organizations such as WQW are no longer needed but until that day arrives I will continue to volunteer my time and donate money to support our warriors. I encourage my countrymen to do the same.

Bob Christofferson
Gillette, WY

2 Shannon M.9

Client Served

Rating: 5

A few simple words cannot express what I have been given with Warriors and Quiet Waters, starting with the opportunity. Up until a few years ago nearly all the experiences for combat veterans are geared towards the guys, so when I was told about this and offered the opportunity I didn't think I was eligible. It took a lot of gentle coaxing to get me to submit my application, and within a few weeks I was invited to the first combat veterans women's fx. I cannot tell you the number of times I almost contacted them to say "no".
As words cannot describe, humbly, I am glad I did not and that I went.
Throughout the entire adventure from Guides to Moms to staff, to sponsors; I was left speechless nothing, and I mean nothing compares.
It is in this place; the Mountains of Montana, the quiet of the rivers, through the ballet of fly fishing, I have found a measure of peace.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband was a proud VietNam vet who returned to ridicule and an ungrateful nation. When the Gulf War started, we vowed to do whatever we could to support and encourage those who returned. We continued our commitment after 9/11. However, we never found a "hands on" group - until a friend told me about WQW.
WQW is an amazing group of dedicated and focused people..both the staff and the volunteers. We can never repay those who serve, but we can show them our appreciation.
I have volunteered as a "Mom" for 6 (or 7??) years and have made everlasting friends. I look forward to the week each year when we get the privilege of volunteering for a truly worthy organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We are pleased to support over 20 nonprofits. All are great and help many good causes. One
of the most significant to me is Warriors- and -Quiet- Waters - Foundation in Bozeman,Mt
We have contributed financially and I have volunteered as a driver and companion and my wife has served as a "Mom" and cook to bring a week of peace and happiness to severely wounded war veterans who come to Montana , fully paid for by this organization to learn
to fly fish and enjoy the tranquility of our streams.
As a driver I picked up a recovering army sergeant who arrived at our airport with his dog. The dog was wearing a vest made from the flak jacket this soldier was wearing when he was severely wounded by an "improvised explosive devise". This soldier had a leg that needed amputation but he wouldn't let the doctors take it until he finished competing
around the USA and overseas in Wounded Warriors Games. He also had a very severe case of PTSD. I never understood the ravages of PTSD until I had spent an hour my car with this
brave soldier.
He was excited to come to Montana and learn fly fishing for a week as a guest of Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation. As a veteran myself, having served in Korea, this was one of
the most meaningful nonprofit experiences in my life.
Chuck Raches

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for WQW as a "mom" for 3 years now, and it is the most amazing nonprofit I have ever volunteered with. Their attention to detail, stewardship of their funds, and belief in their mission is evident in everything they do. It is an honor to serve with WQW.

1 Ron G.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been privileged to volunteer as a Companion once and as a Co-Team Leader several times.
I am always very humbled to be able to help with these FX's. It is absolutely amazing to see the transformation of the Warrior from picking them up at the Airport, fishing a couple days, and then, the Sayonara Dinner.
Warriors and Quite Waters does a great job of providing the venue to help these Warriors regain trust in themselves and others.
It really seems to get the Warriors "out of themselves" and they transition into a happy person enjoying the outdoors and satisfaction of catching fish on a fly rod. Being part of a group again seems to make a difference for them also.
The guides, WQW Staff, and all the volunteers are 100% focused on ensuring a quality experience for the Warriors. A great organization with a great mission.

2 Chris P.13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started as a volunteer life coach for WQW in 2018 as part of the CX program. I saw it as a way to merge my patriotic gratitude with my professional skills as an Executive Coach. I had an appreciation for the power of outdoor/recreational therapeutic approaches and the positive catalyst it can make in overcoming personal challenges. Nothing prepared me however for the perfect synergies of Quiet Waters Ranch, the serenity of the fishing experience, the generous and loving volunteers, and life-changing effect on me that interacting with our nation's heroes up close in such personal way has had on me. I have told many - that this is the most important work I do now. I give my time throughout the year, travel from across the country, and donate financially to be part of this loving community and to serve these heroes.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Luke and this organization goes above and beyond to instill healthy tools in helping create healthy combat veterans. Not only has this organization help me find peace in the grandeur of the outdoors but it has united me with an alumni that I can truly call family. No longer alone in the confines of a scarred mind, I have found confidence through the compassion of this great organization, her donors, contributors and warriors. -Luke

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered as a "mom" with WQW for 10 years and it truly has been the most rewarding experience of my life! I have personally witnessed the miracles that take place when we come together to support our vets and bond like family. Our cooking brings them to the kitchen and the love poured out fills the warriors hearts! They find healing and peace on the waters while fishing,surrounded by exquisite beauty. They come back to the ranch, so excited to share their days with us "moms". We come together as strangers, but we depart as life long friends. It is truly a magical program and I am so honored to be a part of it!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer on the kitchen crew aka the Mom’s and as a companion for a caregiver I have witnessed and experienced first hand the inspirational resilience of the warriors and the caregivers. The transformation that happens during the week of being in the Montana outdoors, fishing, and connecting with other participants and the volunteers is amazing, powerful, long lasting and really fun. The participants take their individual changes, their fishing skills and their new relationships home with them. It is truly an honor to be a part of a WQW Fx and it filled me with respect and gratitude.
Sandi A.

Eddie M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was very honored to volunteer as a Companion twice during the summer of 2019. Both of the FX experiences were different but each one came with an incredible journey in terms of end results. I never served in the military and wanted to give back in a small way to these incredible warriors via this volunteer work with the WQW. The rewards are far reaching in many positive ways. I am hopeful the two warriors felt that the experience also provided them the camaraderie, peace and serenity that comes with fly fishing in Montana. I have volunteered with many non profits over the years and WQW is at he top of my list. I look forward to my next opportunity to work with the volunteers and warriors.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Warriors and Quiet Waters was a truly exceptional experience. I was a companion for a Warrior. The experience was both humbling and rewarding. WQW has developed a program That leads to positive outcomes among the Warriors it is serving. Fred Whitmore

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation is an amazing organization led by amazing people. Volunteering was a great experience and share this message with as many people as possible. I would highly recommend volunteering if you can in any way that is possible. This is a great organization doing great things for those who have served.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I knew of WQW for a few years before I ever even considered applying to volunteer- I thought I did not have anything to offer. Boy was I wrong! I really like to cook and bake and spend time with my 2 daughters .... well we became a cook team in 2018 and WQW fueled not our “like” for cooking and spending time together- it birthed a passion for us cooking together, especially in Montana! We might of just built ourselves a little reputation with our home cooked meals where we make everything from scratch- including every bite of bread we serve! It comes from a passion for what we do and who we do it for. The Warriors, their caregivers, their families..... we love you each and want to thank you for your sacrifices. We have been welcomed into the veteran community and we respect the bond you all share. My wonderful “son” has been through the program and actually lives in Bozeman. He is responsible for our volunteering with WQW. This Texas team is already wanting to plan our next FX!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a veteran that first experienced the program as a participant. It came at a time when I had been retired and struggling away from military life and fellow veterans. The fishing is a focus for WQW, but for those who attend, it is more than that. For me it was a weeks worth of mental recordings, that allowed me to play back when I would have rough days. The people who run the program, the volunteers, and the guides, do an outstanding job! I still keep in contact with my guide.
I was able to go back the following year with my wife. The program is always adapting to the needs of the veterans. I was the companion to my wife. They taught her how to fly fish. That was a miracle! It was another great bonding experience between my wife and i, and our bonding with other military couples.
The bottom line is there is no stress or pressure to fish or do other activities. No group or couples sessions. Just the ability to enjoy nature in the best possible way, fly fishing with other wounded veterans. Now, I begin the journey to volunteer for them.

1 Ken W.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

An FX with Warriors and Quiet Waters is a life-changing experience for a combat veteran. It’s not about the fishing, though it is both wonderful and therapeutic - it’s about the family of great volunteers that support the warriors during and after the event. Truly remarkable.

1 Ashley Anne S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was such a life changing experience. I was part of the first Caregiver’s FX in 2018. Everyone involved was so amazing and Iearned a new skill that I was able to bring back and share with my family. It has encouraged us to get out more and find more peace in our lives. Everyone involved in the program is amazing. They truly get it. The ranch is warm and inviting. Our guides were world class. Our Moms and other support were incredible. I highly recommend this opportunity to others and it is one of the best nonprofits if not the best that someone could be involved with or support.

Fishing photos by Sgt Mac.

1 Brian P.3

Donor

Rating: 5

Comforting to know there is such an organization such as WQW that serve our nations Warriors in their time of need. As a veteran myself, I'm proud to say I have a friend whom guides for this foundation whom himself is a veteran. He and his 4 legged companion have such a passion for their work in serving fellow vets through the flyrod and reel. Hats off to this incredible organization. Well done!

2 Ryan Patrick L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a veteran and a volunteer for WQW, I can say with out reservation that the work this organization does for post 9-11 combat vets is second to none. Their dedicated staff is focused on one thing and one thing alone: the warrior and his rehabilitative experience while attending one of their FXs. Bravo Zulu!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Warriors and Quiet Waters is a top notch foundation. As an alumni they helped me in so many ways that meer words cant do enough justice to show how great they are. The best word I can use I guess would be family. From the moment you arrive in Montana the staff and volunteers treat you as if you were a member of their own family. I've never felt that from complete strangers before. As a combat vet wounded in Afghanistan it showed me exactly what my sacrifices were for. Hopefully these words will compel people to donate to such a worthy organization. With veteran suicide rates at such high levels I truly believe what they do saves lives. Please donate or volunteer. Trust me when I tell you it is worth it.

1 MaryGrace D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I are honored to work with WQW...serving those who have served us is so humbling and seeing the benefits is so rewarding!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Excellent organization that really cares about the veteran community.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This org provides what was for me a life changing experience. They showed me a love for the outdoors in a way I had never experienced before. On top of that, they have it down to a science, from putting the right groups together to scheduling the time spent at the ranch, everything is executed perfectly

1 Jackson M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Most awesome experience ever the staff, volunteers, companions are the best. I have been in the Army for 21yrs with 9 deployments and this is hands down the best organization I have ever had the privilege to participate in and would love to be reinvented for the spouse trip as I believe my wife would learn why I love fishing so much thank you WQW.

1 John H.8

Client Served

Rating: 5

Love this group! They take great care of warriors and their families. I send as many people to this group as I can.

2 mous9577

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been honored to volunteer with WQW on three of their fishing trips so far and cannot sing enough praise. Well run, well supported and well organized this non-profit raises the bar for organizations looking to make a meaningful impact on their community. Pulling people from all geographic, demographic and cultural backgrounds this non-profit unites people under the cause of warrior relaxation and healing and manifests some of the most cohesive teams as a result. I cannot say enough great things about this organization and sincerely look forward to volunteering for another couple of fishing trips this next year. Strongly recommend!

1 Thomas N.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an awesome organization. It is well run by a knowledgeable and caring staff. Best of all, it is having an amazingly positive impact on the women and men who have faithfully served this country who can benefit from a unique opportunity to relax, connect and learn to fly fish in the Last Best Place - Montana!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is the best non-profit organization helping post 9-11 combat veterans in America, and I am glad to be a part of the volunteer group that supports their efforts. Have personally seen the changes brought about by a week of learning how to fly fish in beautiful Montana, and the results are awe inspiring. Keep up the good work!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve worked with a handful of nonprofits over the years. Warriors and Quiet Waters is the best I’ve ever seen. Not only the experience and life changing attitudes, but they stand behind their mission and support their Warriors. To the point that the director of warrior services will show up in the ER to sit with one of his alumni. I’m honored to have been a part of this program, and hope to continue the legacy of serving my brothers.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It really is an honor to be a volunteer for Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation. I get a chance to meet and support these brave veterans as they connect with each other and enjoy Montana's beautiful outdoors. There's a sense if peace that goes with fly fishing, as you focus on the water and, at least for a time, leave your other troubles behind. You can see this happen as the week goes on and they really get into the fishing. Rewarding doesn't begin to describe my experience, as I think I get at least as much out of it as the warriors do. I'm looking forward already to next year.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was privileged to be a volunteer "Mom" on the first FX for Caregivers. Warriors & Quiet Waters gave these caregivers the opportunity to have time to focus on themselves for a change....and in turn, made them better caregivers for their warrior spouses. This organization has the veterans...and now their caregivers...as their focus, Outstanding!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered as part of a team of "moms who cook" this past spring over a 4 day fly fishing experience. Our team of 4 prepared breakfast and dinner for the warriors, companions and guides (18-24 persons) . The program is so well organized -- not only for its participants, but also for its volunteers. Orientation/training is detailed, yet simple; expectations are clear and easy to meet.
To begin to know these warriors and volunteer companions (often vets themselves) who gave so much and to prepare meals which we'd all enjoy together was such a wonderful gift. To notice the positive changes in these warriors (courtesy of Montana serenity and fly fishing) over the several days we were with them gave proof to the success of this mission.
I can't wait to volunteer again next year!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My FX with Warriors and Quiet Waters was nothing short of amazing. As an active duty combat wounded special operator with numerous combat deployments and more to come, finding time to stop, relax, and center is difficult. WQW taught me a way to reset in nature - fly fishing - and did it with the kindest group of volunteers you could ever hope to meet. I hope I can give back a fraction of what WQW gave me.

3 okchristi

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing organization! I had the opportunity to be on their first caregiver FX and couldn't be more blessed! I walked away with more confidence in myself, a better sense of pride and so many new friends. Thank you isn't enough!

2 Scott S.8

Client Served

Rating: 5

That's a tough question to answer, considering I liked everything about it and was repeatedly amazed by the generosity, kindness, and genuine concern for the well being of everyone present. Being comfortable around such a relatively large group of people is something I thought I was no longer capable of... Sharing space and company with so many people uniquely bonded by the experience of having endured the darkness of combat and warfare, regardless of service or era, and knowing not a word need be spoken for someone to understand that a wounded mind may never fully heal. So to try and answer your question...what I liked most about this experience was being constantly reminded of and shown the natural beauty of the world and how immersing yourself in an activity that requires your patience; and continuous effort in expanding your knowledge, skill, and understanding of the flow of life and harmony required to resonate with the rest of creation....and all through the practice and experience of seeking to perfect the art of fly fishing...and in the process, however briefly, escaping the past while immersed in life and the appreciation of it. Although each day continues to be its own battle, I at least have a good memory that reminds me, at the very least, that there are other Veterans out there that i may again have an opportunity to spend time around. They being some of the only people in this world i can be around that know the answers to questions they would never ask. The questions asked by non-Veterans that i am not able to answer in a way that makes them understand what they can never know, having never experienced what now creates a new battle for me each day. WQW’s was a few days of peace in my mind that assured me that at least the possibility of a peaceful day is possible.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

After 3 tours and coming home with wounds that couldn’t be fixed, I knew I needed an outlet. I always enjoyed fishing but my experience with WQW showed me the therapeutic value of fishing and friends. From the moment I got there till this day I am treated like a friend, not a client or customer.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I are long time local donors to Warriors and Quiet Waters. We have seen over the years the great work that comes from this organization. The local volunteers here are dedicated to serving our country's warriors.