Anglers of Honor was founded by Robert F. Smith and Matthew Burkett, two entrepreneurs with the ability to vision a future of what was invisible to others. Based in Colorado, Anglers of Honor is a charitable organization that strives to make therapeutic fly fishing opportunities available to individuals with physical disabilities and their families. We aim to fulfill our mission through preservation efforts and unique programming all across the front range.


With over 45,000 soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan during the last decade, some families and communities are struggling to cope with the severe emotional and physical injuries sustained by our dedicated servicemen and servicewomen. Life can be uniquely difficulty for these veterans. Fly fishing has proven to be an incredibly therapeutic tool in restoring physical function and recreating lives, and Anglers of Honor is humbled to assist in the process.


Anglers of Honor works directly with veterans with disabilities and their families to aid in their recovery and acclimation to life after active duty. We also work with individuals suffering from spinal cord and traumatic brain injury to provide accessible and therapeutic fishing opportunities. Through the Anglers of Honor program, participants and their families learn the basics of fly fishing which they get to put to immediate use on premier private fly fishing water, restored to allow access for individuals with disabilities.


Anglers of Honor 2016 Annual Report




“ I recently called a client who attended an Anglers of Honor trip. His wife usually answers the phone for him because he has Alzheimer’s, TBI and PTSD. He’s a Bronze Star with Valor recipient who is usually reserved and very much to himself. This day, however, I could hear him laugh – happily, playfully, carefree. It was an amazing moment because before his recent fishing trip, he did not have days like this. What a positive impact on the lives of not only the veterans, but his family as well, and in just a short time!”

Rob Altenbernd

CMSgt (Ret.), USAF



Staff & Board of Directors

J. R. Lapierre


J.R. is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys skiing, camping fishing and hiking. He has worked with other non-profit organizations in building capacity for participants and developing programming. He earned a Master's Degree in Sports & Recreation Management from Northeastern University.


President of Board of Directors

Over the last 15 years Bob Adwar has help organize almost 300 outdoor adventures including Pheasant, Duck, Big Game Hunts and Fly Fishing outings for wounded war veterans and others with severe injuries. He began his involvement working with patients and alumni of Craig Hospital—one of the best in the country for treating Spinal Cord and TBI injuries—while serving on their board. During his service on the Board of Directors for Safari Club he expanded the outings to include wounded veterans from Operation TBI Freedom and Freedom Hunters and also serve on their advisory committees.



As a Colorado native, Ethan fell in love with the outdoors and natural sciences at a young age. By high school he was an avid fly fisherman and he knew he would need to find a way to work in field that combined his love for the outdoors, science, and other people. Ethan earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado.



Allan Smith is the founder and owner of multiple enterprises with activities in several international locations. As an independent management consultant of his own firm, Invictus Management Consulting Ltd. he has directed the conception and successful completion of several multi-million-dollar luxury residential and commercial development projects. Prior to founding Invictus, Allan was Director of Gaming and Hospitality Division for a large Las Vegas based general contractor. Allan has also served in several senior management positions for other general contracting, development and construction management firms in Las Vegas and Colorado, completing projects in commercial, residential, healthcare, and educational markets for both public and private clientele.



Russell was introduced to the world of hunting at the young age of 5 years old when his father gave him his first BB gun. He grew up exploring the ranch, tracking game, and learning about the outdoors. That love for hunting and the outdoors has become a career for the past 14 years. Along with his family he runs Colorado’s premier dog training facility and upland bird club. He is also a licensed outfitter and spends his falls guiding big game hunts in eastern Colorado. While hunting is his livelihood he’s passionate about educating and encouraging new hunters. He teaches hunter safety for the state of Colorado and has sponsored youth hunting events for several organizations. He believes that today’s modern sportsman needs to be an advocate for hunter’s rights, conservation and involved in education in order to continue our hunting heritage.



Dr. Diane Ricci has served at the State of Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs for almost six years, including two as a Veterans Service Officer and now as the Deputy Director/Appeals Management Specialist. Here she has the privilege of assist veterans and their families with their claims to the VA including hearings in front of Federal Law Judges. Dr. Ricci is also an active member of the U.S. Army reserves. She joined the Army in 2005 at a 1 Lieutenant and now is a Major in the chaplain corps. She volunteered for a 16 month tour which included 12 months in Iraq, and volunteered for a one year tour at Fort Carson, Colorado. She finished her tour at the chaplain school house where she wrote and taught classes for Captain Chaplains. She is now part of USSOCOM in Tampa Florida and up for promotion for Lieutenant Colonel. Her awards include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (2nd award), Army Commendation Medal (3rd award, Army Achievement Medal, good conduct (3rd award), Iraq campaign (2nd award), reserve mobilization, global war on terror and others. Dr. Ricci also volunteers for the Denver Police Department as a chaplain. She has four degrees: Doctorate in Theology, Masters in Divinity, Masters of Business Administration, and Bachelors in Business Administration.


We are always looking for support through donations, volunteers, or by just spreading the word. Please click the Donate button below. You will be routed to the QGiv website where you can use your credit card to contribute to this program.

Want to volunteer? Shoot us an EMAIL we are happy to answer any questions you may have and we look forward to speaking with you. Please allow up to 48 hours for an email reply. For up to date info on happenings at Lincoln Hills, see out Events section and follow us on FACEBOOK.


Reward yourself or your Hero with a beautiful Anglers of Honor "Defender Series" fly rod combo, manufactured by industry stalwart Wright & McGill! This 9' 5WT (4PC) rod designed for new or experienced anglers, features Anglers of Honor "Defender" Series logos, red, white and blue ferrules, a cork composite handle and a steel blue aluminum alloy reel, and it comes with a case! 100% of your $200.00 donation will go toward supporting therapeutic fly fishing opportunities for military veterans, individuals with disabilities and their families, and you will receive this one-of-a-kind, signature combo.

*We are sold out of the 2017 "Defender" Series combos, but keep an eye out for the new 2018 model coming soon!

Anglers of Honor Outfit 2017

Anglers of Honor Detail 2017

Anglers of Honor Reel 2017


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