Vets with boatBy Ada Weeks
Perched on a large rock at the Silver Creek Landing, I sat photographing drift boats that came close enough to capture on camera, waiting for my mystery ride to the other side of the river. My assignment was to interview a group of US military veterans during their first McKenzie River fishing trip. Having grown up as a Navy braåç, I knew this would be special.

When a drift boat skillfully came close enough for me to see the fishermen wearing US Army tee shirts, I knew “my ship had come in.” Indeed, with military precision, my boat transport was right on time. Marine veteran, and elite river guide, Greg White, invited me to hop in for the short ride across the McKenzie to the chosen lunch spot.

River guide Buzz Kleven, also a US Army and Marine veteran, was busy setting up the site, complete with table, chairs, cookware, and the largest cast iron frying pan I had ever seen. The military vet fishermen, who had tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Germany, piled out of the drift boats, and settled in to watch the guides prepare lunch.

McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: Purchase copies online at: Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.