This past weekend people gathered at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds for the Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation’s Warriors Taste Fest. The event featured some of the best restaurants, breweries, and distilleries under the Big Sky.
Proceeds raised from the event help Warriors and Quiet Waters continue to be a catalyst for positive change in the lives of post-9/11 combat veterans through the experience of fly-fishing.
Fly fishing continues to be a key catalyst for positive change in the lives of combat veterans. That’s why the Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation provides six fly fishing based experiences to support combat veterans, spouses, caregivers and supporters.
Saul Martinez is a medically retired Army Infantryman, a Purple Heart recipient and a Warriors and Quiet Waters alumnus. He also serves as the Director of Warrior Services for the organization. He said that the Taste Fest was a way to include the community and state in the work the non-profit does for combat veterans.
“All of these local restaurants, local breweries and local distilleries tie us to the community and everybody that’s present,” said Martinez. “What we do at Warriors and Quiet Waters happens here in Bozeman, Montana. All the positive trajectories that we set our participants on happens in Bozeman, Montana. It’s only right that we start including the rest of the community in that mission and in that objective. I think they’re all proud to be part of it as well.”
Being proud to support the foundation was an understatement for Jeff Droge. The Droge family farms west of Bozeman and owns Dry Hills Distillery. They were one of the five distilleries, seven breweries and twelve restaurants that made up the Warriors Taste Fest.
“When it comes down to having the opportunity to work with the people of Warriors and Quiet Waters, it’s really close to my heart,” Droge said. “I have a lot of passion for our servicemen and women. It’s not only them it’s their families. It’s the people that are also affected by them being willing to give everything and a lot of people give up more than we could ever understand unless you have been in it.”
Dry Hills Distillery raises the potatoes and cereal grains that are used in their spirits. They and the other Montana based businesses provided food, drink, art and entertainment for the hundreds of attendees that came out for the Montana inspired event. The live auction, ticket sales and support from the community raised over $300,000 for the Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation.
“The proceeds from the Taste Fest are going to go directly to our program,” Saul Martinez explained. “As of right now, the Warriors Taste Fest raised enough money to fund 40 new combat veterans that will come through our program. That’s 40 different life trajectories that we could set guys and gals on. Everybody that participated in our event will be a part of their journey.”
The Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation also partners with farmers, ranchers and landowners to provided fishing access for combat veterans. For more information visit warriorsandquietwaters.org
By Lane Nordlund