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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A concert with a cause

Gary+Morris
Photo by PROVIDED
Gary Morris

A country Christmas concert in Rudder Theatre will benefit a fly-fishing program that helps disabled veterans cope with the emotional and physical effects of war. 

The performance by artist Gary Morris will take place Friday. Proceeds from the event will go towards the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing charity project.

Founded in 2005, PHWFF uses fly fishing and the great outdoors for its programs throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. The program aims to help veterans with the healing process by building a community of fly fishermen, and Morris has given it his support by hosting several charity concerts in the project’s name.

After taking a 15-year hiatus from touring, Morris held the first annual Gary Morris charity Christmas concert in Abilene last year. Because of its success, the second annual concert has been expanded to College Station and Mason, Texas. 

Director of Communications for Project Healing Waters and avid fly fisherman Dan Morgan said what makes PHWFF stand out is its contemporary method of rehabilitation as well as its commitment to helping veterans through the long haul.

“Our belief is that helping disabled veterans isn’t a one-time event. It is about being their friend, companion and mentor on their journey of healing,” Morgan said. “Fly fishing and our program gives disabled veterans the opportunity to experience rehabilitation outside of the hospital or sterile physical therapy rooms, and into the beauty of the great outdoors.”

Morgan said PHWFF aims to go beyond fishing by using the outdoors to build a sense of community.

When he was introduced to PHWFF a year ago from a fellow friend and avid fly fisherman, Morgan said he knew he had found another charity to support. 

“He was injured in Afghanistan with a traumatic brain injury, and he stood on stage and said if it wasn’t for Project Healing Waters, and some avid fly fishermen taking him under their wings and putting him in a river and putting a rod in his hand, and working with him and doing the things and the kind of healing that only happen in nature, he said he probably and most likely would have taken his life,” Morris said. “To hear the man talk and say how this activity changed his life really convinced me that this is a charity I am going to stay with.”

When it came to deciding where the Christmas concerts would be held, Morris said he wanted the locations to be veteran-friendly like College Station. 

Morris’ publicist, Brenda Golden, said she always knew about Morris’ musical talent, but by seing his charitable side, she experienced another part of him. 

“He does the right thing,” Golden said. “That’s refreshing. You don’t see that kind of integrity everyday, and you certainly do not see it in some of the people who have had the level of success he has had for as long as he has. I believe that is due to his raising, his foundation.” 

Morris said he hopes the money raised helps grow the charity, and said his goal is to raise at least $100,000 for PHWFF. He also said he hopes to open his 4,000-acre Colorado ranch to host people from Project Healing Waters. 

“As a general way of life, people go about living their own life on a day to day basis and forget we literally have major conflicts going on and people who are giving up their life so that we can have our Starbucks coffee and our trip to the gym and our concert going and our television watching and our football games,” Morris said. “There is an extraordinary amount of people that put their life in danger every day — this is my opportunity to be involved in giving back.” 

The Gary Morris Christmas Concert benefitting PHWFF will be held Friday in Rudder Theatre at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $40 to $60 depending on seating location. Students who bring their student ID and a copy of Tuesday’s edition of The Battalion will be able to enter the concert for $1

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