Ryan Caldwell (NTHS '91)

Ryan Caldwell outdoors in his natural habitat Did you know that current Veterans Affairs estimations show that 22 veterans are taking their own lives each day and that over 35 percent of those who have deployed overseas are diagnosed with some type of mental health issue upon return. Meet Ryan Caldwell, North Thurston High School Alumni (Class of 1991) and combat wounded veteran who has served our country through multiple deployments around the world. Caldwell is now giving back to support veterans by providing healing recreation of fishing through his non-profit organization, Got Your 6 Fishing.

Caldwell, who also attended Lacey Elementary and Chinook Middle School, pursued his education after high school by attending community college in New York all while being an active member of the military. “I decided to join the military out of high school because I wanted to serve my country and travel to exciting places,” explains Caldwell. “I served about 15 years in the military. I got injured in 2004 and retired medically from the injuries in Iraq as a Staff Sargent. I received a Purple Heart for being wounded.”

After getting out of the military, Caldwell went through some hard times. “My injuries and PTSD were overwhelming. I was invited on a trip to Montana to go fly fishing. That trip rekindled my love for the outdoors. At that time I knew I could turn my life around.” Four years later, Got Your 6 Fishing was born and Caldwell has now served over 450 veterans and military.

In school, Caldwell was just your average kid. “I think I tried to be a good person,” he laughs. One day in middle school, he dressed up as Don Johnson. “I remember getting teased and so I changed really quickly!”

Caldwell is the Founder and President of Got Your 6 Fishing. The non-profit organization provides opportunities for active duty military and veterans to enjoy the beautiful state of Washington and our unique waterways. Through the recreation of fishing, veterans will learn coping skills, build relationships, find physical and emotional healing, and gain the knowledge needed to maintain this hobby for life. Got Your 6 Fishing is a military term that means, “I’ve got your back,” and is the founding sentiment for the organization. “I enjoy being a part of changing these warriors’ lives for the better,” said Caldwell.

In his free time, Caldwell enjoys eating a good steak, BBQ, fly fishing and being in the outdoors.

Caldwell mentioned that running a non-profit and being in the army is not easy. “But when you love your job, there are more rewards than negatives. I am very proud to have served this great country,” he states.

To learn more about Got Your 6 Fishing visit:

https://gotyour6fishing.com/ 

https://m.facebook.com/gotyour6fishing/