I wrote an completely off-topic plug for Project Healing Waters last year. This year my plug is actually knife related. Before I get to that, I want to give a little background for those who are not familiar with the organization.
Project Healing Waters uses flyfishing as a vehicle for rehabilitating wounded veterans. For fine motor skills, they teach vets to tie flies and build fly rods. For gross-motor rehabilitation, they use actual fishing itself. Couple that with the therapeutic value of a day on the water and you can understand how this organization has made a tremendous difference in the lives of those who have given so much for us all.
Tomorrow is the second annual Smoky Mountain Grand Slam Challenge on the Clinch River. I, and most of the other local guides are donating our day and boat, a sponsor is donating a minimum of $2500 to pay for the boat, and the guides take a wounded vet and the sponsor down the river to compete in a tournament event.
I was interviewed in the above video during last year’s event (3:00 mark). The video was put together by the Medal of Honor Project at the University of Tennessee. One can clearly see by watching just how much this group has meant both to those that it serves, as well as those who are volunteering to help.
On to the knife story:
Well-known knifemaker and Blade Magazine Field Editor Kim Breed also happens to be a retired Master Sgt. from US Army SOF. I mentioned PHWFF to him at this year’s Blade Show and he volunteered to donate a couple of knives to the auction for Friday night’s banquet. One was a workingman’s model, with g-10 scales and most likely 8-CrV2 like my Model 15 for the silent auction. The second knife was a presentation quality Damascus Model 15 with a custom leather sheath and stabilized wood scales which was given for the live auction.
They asked me to come to the front and talk about Kim and the knife. I did my best to pump the knife, but fishermen can be a stingy lot at times, and the blade was struggling with the auction about to close at $275. I bid $300, hoping to spur further action. When the auctioneer was about to drop the gavel, I raised my bid to $400. It would have been both unfair to Kim and to PHWFF for a piece of art like that to not bring in at least that. It “cost” me an extra $100, but that is a small price to pay for a knife that would retail around $1000, but more importantly to help out such an amazing group of people.
And I bought my first true presentation knife. I could not be happier with this knife, even if it is destined to be a “safe queen”, and not put into use. However, that is a topic for another day.