Robert F. Smith and Anglers of Honor
Serving underrepresented groups in his home state of Colorado has always been important to Robert F. Smith. A native of Denver, lover of the outdoors and avid fly fisherman, Smith helped establish the Anglers of Honor program at Lincoln Hills Cares, a non-profit educational center in Colorado. The program provides therapeutic fly fishing excursions for current and former members of the U.S. military, as well as those who have experienced brain and spinal cord injuries.
The transition back into civilian life can be difficult for many former active duty members, and Anglers of Honor strives to help with the physical and emotional rehabilitation process. Fly fishing offers veterans an opportunity to reconnect with nature and become more comfortable in their bodies. The Anglers of Honor program also provides family members of veterans with a healthy outlet for spending time with their loved ones.
To date, Anglers of Honor has guided more than 1000 veterans on therapeutic fly fishing excursions since its inception. Smith’s philanthropic support has enabled the program to expand significantly in partnership with other local organizations, even opening free access to a 1/2 mile stretch of Colorado’s South Boulder Creek for veterans and their families.
The Healing Power of Nature
Why has Anglers of Honor been so successful? Many participants say it’s due to the knowledgeable and helpful staff. Others attribute it to the beauty of the historic Lincoln Hills area and the peace of mind it offers veterans on the road to recovery.
“I would strongly recommend that all veterans experience the tranquillity and peacefulness of Lincoln Hills,” says Kevin F.S. Chacon, U.S. Army Veteran. “Lincoln Hills offers a great opportunity to get outdoors and have a fly fishing experience you’ll never forget. I have benefited greatly in overcoming my anxiety and fear of crowds.”
Certainly, Mother Nature’s power to heal comes as no surprise. In fact, it’s a benefit Smith knows well. Smith has spoken about his love of fly fishing and its role in keeping him focused and mindful. Studies show that participating in group-based outdoor recreational activities can improve mental health and long-term psychological well-being among U.S. veterans. Many others experience these positive effects as well, including children, teens and individuals with brain and spinal cord injuries, who can also attend programs provided by Lincoln Hills Cares.
Robert F. Smith and Lincoln Hills Cares
Smith co-founded Lincoln Hills Cares with Matthew Burkett in 2008. The organization grants people equal access to outdoor recreation and education, cultural history and workforce advancement through programs such as Anglers of Honor, Youth Outdoor Education, TeamWorks Service Learning, LHC Pathways and The Nizhoni Equestrian Experience. It also aims to preserve the natural beauty of Lincoln Hills and its role in African American history. Through Lincoln Hills Cares, Smith continues to fund and support programming that benefits underserved groups, such as military veterans, individuals with traumatic injuries and youth from the metro Denver and Front Range communities. Learn more about Robert F. Smith’s work with Lincoln Hills Cares, and visit the Anglers of Honor website to find out how you can get involved.