Jim Lanning, Spring Creek Trout Unlimited Centre County, Wins National Honors

The Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Centre County Friday announced Jim Lanning, Chair of their Veterans Service Program, was awarded  the National Trout Unlimited 2017 Distinguished Service Award – Veterans Service Program at the Trout Unlimited Annual Meeting held in Roanoke, VA in September.

Jim started with a small group of members, mostly veterans themselves, and designed the Chapter's program around his belief that supporting a veteran extends to all members of the veteran's family.

Never one to go small, Jim also envisioned an extremely active program that extended beyond fishing - into conservation, mentoring and community service. He succeeded on all counts.

The result is a large, highly organized volunteer network supporting a program that reaches more than 500 veterans and their family members annually with more than 20 fishing and fly tying events each year.

In addition, the VSP participates in multiple community events such as Veterans and Memorial Day services and parades, conservation projects and youth outreach.

As chair of the program, Jim Lanning actively develops, organizes, and implements many aspects of the VSP, including:

-- Individual fishing and fly tying lessons by trained guides and mentors;

-- Assisting with active and inactive member reintegration into civilian life and assisting with personal and family issues;

-- Providing special events for members, and volunteers, such as guided fishing on private streams in the area;

-- Arranging training to volunteer mentors including, but not limited to, mental health assistance, CPR, and first aid;

-- Developing conservation classes and workgroups with the VSP group taking on stewardship activities for the chapter;

-- Fundraising to supplement chapter funding with support from local veteran organizations and fundraiser;.

-- Acquiring donations of equipment and supplies from local businesses and individuals;

-- Arranging transportation for elderly veterans who wish to attend events;

-- Assisting with employment opportunities and other community activities;

-- Managing over 1,500 volunteer hours expended each year; and

-- Building strong community outreach with groups such as the YMCA, Penn State and Veteran organizations.

Jim has gone beyond the chapter level to both the state and national levels in assisting other chapters to develop their own Veteran Service Programs.

He serves on the National VSP Advisory Board of Directors and has made key presentations to this board regarding the structure and administration of the program. He serves as a Regional Vice President on the PA Trout Unlimited Council and as the state Chairman of the Veteran Service Program.

For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited website.

(Photo: Jim Lanning (Middle) with John Wood (left) and Bob Vierck (right))


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