Nova Scotia Program

Welcome to Heroes Mending On The Fly Nova Scotia! Read on to learn more about our programming in the province and how you can get involved.

Annual Program Overview

In Nova Scotia, we have 2 primary locations:

  1. Fly tying from January to the end of April
  2. Casting clinic in May
  3. Fishing Trip at the end of June

2021 Veterans Ombudsman Commendation

In 2021, the Nova Scotia Heroes Mending On The Fly Program received a Veterans Ombudsman Commendation, an award given annually to individuals, groups, businesses or organizations that have made an exceptional contribution to the well-being of Veterans and their families.

Congratulations and thank you to Nova Scotia Provincial Director, Ray McEachern, and all volunteers for their endearing dedication towards supporting our participants’ healing.

Read more about our Nova Scotia Program’s achievement here.


I would like to thank you and the staff. I was in a bad place mentally when I connected with mending on the fly.  I was diagnosed with an OSI PTSD with extreme anxiety stress and depression disorder. Upon meeting the group and doing the Margaree trip I have begun my recovery. I have spent the last 4 years stuck in my own head and now am finally able to see a light in the darkness. I still see a psychiatrist and psychologist weekly but they are extremely happy with my progress and are optimistic about my recovery.  Your group is a major reason for it as I was able to see that others were in the same situations are where able to recover which helped me reach out. Also, every person on the course were so open and always had an ear to lend if needed.

Nova Scotia CAF Veteran

This is in response to my experience with HMOTF Nova Scotia chapter. I wish to start this email by stating my amazement for the commitment of the guides, instructors and volunteers. The absolute desire to genuinely help those around them was apparent at every step of this process and it was truly spectacular to be involved with. this entire experience will be with me for the rest of my life, when your someone who has had a life surrounded by so many occasions of overwhelming violence the value of having a memory surrounded by overwhelming nature, kindness but also peacefulness is something that has no price. I feel a more complete individual after the experiences I have had  over this past week and that has not been a thought that has been in my head for almost 12 years now. This was the first time in as many years where I truly felt like my life was not going from one state of hyperarousal to another
state of franticness to anxiousness about emotional despair. For this moment of clarity I will be forever
in debt to the HMOTF program and the Royal Canadian Legion.

Prior to this experience I was very skeptical about being involved in this program as I have been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of my time as a regular force Combat Engineer. During my service, I was shot in a friendly fire incident as well as a primary responder to another friendly fire incident in which a close friend was badly wounded, participating in Repatriation Ramp Ceremonies in Trenton, Ontario for two more close friends while recovering from my wounds and not actually being able to be with my unit who at the time in Afghanistan who were suffering extreme casualties was heartbreaking. I was left with a very hollow individual after my experiences and my life turned a dull shade of grey with no enjoyment. 

As I write this email now I can assure you that I am not that same individual but slowly finding a new gear in my life. Sitting on the margaree river nestled between the mountains watching eagles on the prowl for fish with your feet in the water is such a beautifully magnificent experience anyone suffering symptoms of any OSI can’t help but just be in the present and appreciate what nature can do for mental health. I realized on that water that the journey of a salmon is very conderable to someone who struggles with trauma and in particular my own struggle. Every morning whether I like it or not I wake up and I’m going against the current, the ocean was my Army experience and the river is my life moving forward. Every step of the the river im trying to move forward and get by, but like fishing such as in life there are lures or triggers that want you to react, and in this reaction you get caught. When you get caught you might get away but you also might not. The key to being the biggest baddest salmon is to develop the ability to not react aggressively or harshly to something thrown in your face, but instead notice it and process it but keep moving up the river.  This echoed through me near the dollar pool while casting near a rock ledge with an undertaker salmon fly on my line that I had tied. I didn’t get my salmon on that river. I couldn’t be more ok with that because what I did gain was an entirely new zest for my life and the others around me.

For someone who went  10 years without being diagnosed with fairly severe PTSD going through the CF mental health system I know more than most that there are holes in the system and the absolute fact is that programs like this pick up the slack and save lives. I know this because it just may have saved mine. I have been on a long road with many obstacles and instead of feeling anxious I can’t help feeling excited! 

I will be medically released from the Canadian Forces next summer for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I will focus my medical vocational rehab on obtaining fly fishing courses and certifications with the hope that in a few years I may obtain a second career as a fly fishing guide here in Nova Scotia and continue this journey of fly fishing and continue to recommend this program to anyone who is truly suffering. I would like to seek the opportunity to volunteer with this program in any capacity that may be accepted so I can pass one the opportunities that were given to me and which I will be forever thankful for.

As Paddy our guide said “the tug is the drug”. Thank you all so much.

Jonny McCulloch