Erik Larsen was born in Rock Springs, WY. Growing up he and his family spent a lot of time in the outdoors camping, fishing and hunting. Erik graduated from Rock Springs High School in 1992 and spent that summer working in Yellowstone National Park. While in Yellowstone, he took advantage of being in nature everyday by hiking, biking and fishing. Hard pressed to leave Yellowstone, he came back home and went to college. After a semester in college, Erik decided school was not for him at the time and joined the Air Force. He left for basic training in Dec 1992. After completing basic training and tech school for Security Police, he was sent to FE Warren AFB, WY as his first duty station. He separated from the Air force in 1996 and joined the Wyoming Air National Guard. In 2000 Erik rejoined the active duty Air Force and was stationed at Dover AFB, DE, Lackland AFB, TX and Minot AFB, ND.
He has deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1994, Kuwait in 2002 and Iraq in 2003.
In 2010 injuries forced him to be medically discharged from the Air Force, He had a tough time finding work and readjusting to life outside of the military. In 2015 he reached out to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and it changed his life. He went from a reluctant participant to a Program Lead and Deputy Regional Coordinator for The South-Central Region. Through the program and being outdoors, he found the peace that he had forgotten about. Erik went back to college and received his Bachelor’s in Sociology. Erik now has a new passion, a passion to share his love of fly fishing and the outdoors with other veterans.Erik lives in New Braunfels, TX with his wife Mai and their children.
Amanda Gomes is a first generation Brazilian-American college student, and a United States Marine Corps veteran diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and PTSD from MST. Amanda realized, through her own military experiences, the disparities between active duty and veteran access to mental health services and other resources. Amanda, who had problems accessing the mental health professional she needed during her military service and transition to civilian life, went out determined to become the support she and other veterans require. Amanda is a current student at Texas State University pursuing her bachelor’s degree in social work with an expected graduation date of December 2023.