(WYFF/NBC News) — Spartanburg, South Carolina, based Veteran's Last Patrol recently collaborated with North Carolina fly-fishing stalwarts Davidson River Outfitters to fulfill a veteran's last wish: catching one last trout.
Robert J. Houk has Parkinson's disease and recently underwent heart surgery.
Doctors told him in April that he would not live to see May.
“They told me I wouldn't make it to dark,” Houk remembers. “I showed them!”
Houk joined the U.S. Navy toward the end of the Vietnam war and served on the USS New Jersey. In March of 1972, Robert Houck left the Navy with an Honorable Discharge and came to rest in Hendersonville, North Carolina. That's where his love for fly fishing took root.
With 25 years of experience as a fly-fishing guide, David Richards has fished all over the world. When Veteran’s Last Patrol contacted him to see if Davidson River Outfitters would be interested in guiding a veteran to one last fish, Richards jumped at the opportunity.
The fish were not cooperating that day, Richards said. But, with time running out, Houk, sitting on a folding chair in the middle of the river, saw the indicator dip below the surface.
He quickly set the hook and minutes later a beautiful 18-inch rainbow trout was landed! After a quick photo-op with Houk and Richards, the fish was released.
The day was a triumphant success.
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