ABOUT ANGLERS OF HONOR

Anglers of Honor promotes healing and wellness by leading therapeutic fly fishing excursions for veterans and other individuals with physical disabilities and severe emotional injuries. 

Why We Serve

Restoring physical function and mental wellness can be extraordinarily difficult for the injured and their caregivers. Throughout these arduous and ongoing processes, it is vitally important to draw people out of isolation and into communities offering encouragement, friendship, hope — and even some adventure. 

Anglers of Honor is humbled to assist people who have an array of physical and mental disabilities and their families. Fly fishing has been shown to be a profoundly therapeutic tool for promoting physical and mental health and helping people regain a sense of normalcy, confidence, relational connection and general wellness.

How We Serve

Anglers of Honor provides accessible and therapeutic fishing experiences to:

  • military veterans with physical disabilities and mental health challenges and their family members. We aid in their acclimation to life after active duty. 
  • people suffering from spinal cord and traumatic brain injury. 

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 waters that have been restored to allow access for people with disabilities.

Our nonprofit organization is part of a larger alliance of entities with complementary missions to serve veterans and other people with disabilities and their family members. This alliance, which provides nearly 100 outings each year, is managed by the River Deep Foundation. We invite you to learn more about Anglers of Honor’s impact in the Foundation’s annual report.

Meet Our Founder

ROBERT F. SMITH

Founder

We invite you to read much more about Robert, founder of one of the world’s leading investment firms and a long-time champion of innovative ideas that empower communities to heal and to achieve. He understands the power of the outdoors to transform and connect disenfranchised people and communities.

Our People

Founders, Staff, & Board of Directors

Founders & Staff

Matthew Burkett

Matthew Burkett

Co-Founder

Matthew Burkett is driven by his mission to enrich the lives of Americans of all ages and ethnicities, especially those living throughout metro Denver. Burkett, a community leader and businessman who stands at the helm of investment and holding company The Flyfisher Group, works to advance social change through The Burkett Family Foundation initiatives, Lincoln Hills Cares and Anglers of Honor.

J.R. LAPIERRE

MANAGING DIRECTOR

J.R. enjoys skiing, camping, fishing, hiking — and breaking down barriers and increasing opportunities for everyone to enjoy the outdoors. He has worked with an array of nonprofit organizations to build capacity for participants and develop programming. He also has extensive experience working with schools to provide sports and recreation and other outdoor education programs. Through his work as Managing Director of Lincoln Hills Cares, J.R. helps make some of Colorado’s most prestigious and pristine Colorado fly-fishing waters available to River Deep participants. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a Master’s degree in Sports & Recreation Management from Northeastern University. 

ETHAN EMERY

ETHAN EMERY

Founding Program Director

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 a field that combined his love for the outdoors, science, and other people. Ethan earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado, where he played for the NCAA Division II National Championship football team and was awarded the Educator Department Scholar Award. After graduating, he immediately began working in public education as a high school science teacher and football coach, guiding fly-fishing trips during his summers. As an educator, Ethan is the recipient of the Mile High Teacher Award and the Jared Polis Educator Award for the state of Colorado. He also remains engaged in public service through multiple nonprofit organizations.

Board Members

Bob Adwar

BOB ADWAR

Board PRESIDENT

Since 1999, Bob Adwar has coordinated hundreds of outdoor, therapeutic adventures, including fly fishing outings; art and cooking lessons; blacksmithing instruction; and pheasant, duck and big game hunts for wounded veterans and others with severe mental and physical injuries. His tireless efforts to promote healing have evolved into the River Deep Alliance, a robust network of nonprofit organizations that can provide a wide variety of programs. Anglers of Honor is a proud member of the Alliance.

To coordinate all of the Alliance’s activities, Bob serves as president of the board of Anglers of Honor and as executive director of  River Deep Foundation. Today, Anglers of Honor and the Alliance serve people referred by Craig Hospital, Operation TBI Freedom, Fort Carson’s Solider Recovery Unit and the Veterans Administration Hospital.

Chris Dundas

Treasurer

TBD

John Jugl

BOARD MEMBER

John Jugl is vice chairman of Newmark Knight Frank Capital Markets’ Western Region, and he serves as a regional lead for Newmark Knight Frank’s Denver institutional investment sales platform. An integral part of the firm’s Western Region Capital Market Group, John leads a team focused on the disposition and acquisition of investment properties on behalf of clients throughout the western United States. With more than two decades of experience in the commercial real estate and finance industry, John has completed investment sales transactions valued at more than $4.5 billion and has provided strategic advisory services on more than 20 million square feet of corporate real estate assets. When he’s not in the office — and even when he is — John is a passionate supporter of Anglers of Honor and the River Deep Foundation, often attending events, developing fundraisers and seeking to bring even more volunteers into the fold.

Dave Loucks

BOARD MEMBER

​Dave has more than 30 years of business experience in public accounting, consulting, and private enterprise — and expertise in the oil and gas and tech industries. In his 14 years of public accounting, Dave managed audit engagements in energy and technology. He also has worked as chief financial officer of an INC. 500 international software company. In 2007, Dave co-founded the Assent brand of specialty accounting solutions for the oil and gas industry. The company sold to Opportune, where Dave now works in business development. Dave is a graduate of the University of Denver and is a Certified Public Accountant in Colorado. He is also on the Board of Directors at the Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center and the Colorado Society of CPAs.

RUSSELL MACLENNAN

RUSSELL MACLENNAN

Vice President

Russell was just 5 years old when his father gave him his first BB gun and introduced him to the world of hunting. He grew up exploring the ranch, tracking game, and learning about nature — eventually turning his love for the outdoors and hunting into a career. Along with his family, Russell 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, Russell is 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 today’s modern sportsman needs to be an advocate for hunters’ rights and conservation and involved in education that promotes and preserves our nation’s hunting heritage.

Neil Mayday

Board Member

​Growing up in Michigan, Neil was fortunate to enjoy fishing, camping and the outdoors with his family. After graduating from Northwood University in Midland, Mich., he moved to Glenwood Springs, Colo., where he designed custom cabinetry and millwork for residential and commercial ski town developments. In 2009, Neil opened Greenwood Cabinets & Stone, a full-service kitchen and bathroom showroom in Littleton. He and his staff work with builders, contractors and homeowners, completing projects in metro Denver and throughout the state. The company also is involved with the Denver Rescue Mission and Habitat for Humanity. Neil lives in Castle Pines with wife Wendy, son Nicholas and daughter Sophia, and they enjoy the the outdoors together. Neil and his family are proud to help enrich the lives of wounded veterans and those with physical challenges by making ways for them to experience Colorado’s great outdoors with River Deep Foundation and Anglers of Honor.

Corinna Peters

Secretary

By day, Corinna is an IT software professional. When she’s not at her desk, her passion lies in the outdoors, guiding hunts, fishing, traveling, spending time with her dogs, and volunteering to help others. After meeting the River Deep Foundation team at a sporting clays shoot in eastern Colorado, Corinna — who has immediate and extended family members serving in the military — decided to get involved. She has volunteered to support Anglers of Honor and the River Deep Foundation since 2018.

ALLAN SMITH

BOARD MEMBER

Allan Smith is the founder and owner of multiple enterprises with activities around the world. As an independent management consultant of his own firm, Invictus Management Consulting Ltd., he has directed the conception and successful completion of several multimillion-dollar luxury residential and commercial development projects. Before founding Invictus, Allan was director of the gaming and hospitality division of a large Las Vegas-based general contractor. Allan also has served in several senior management positions for other general contracting, development and construction management firms in Las Vegas and Colorado, completing projects in the commercial, residential, healthcare, and educational markets for public and private clientele.

Chuck Williamson

BOARD MEMBER

Chuck Williamson served 17 years in the U.S. Army and was medically retired as a Sergeant First Class. For the first nine years of his service, which included deployment during Operation Desert Storm, Chuck was an Armor Crewman and held every position on a tank: loader, driver, gunner and tank commander. He also held several leadership positions, including Head Cadre – Instructor for Individual Readiness Training for Bosnia rotations and Platoon Sergeant, overseeing 15 soldiers and equipment valued at more than $3 million. Chuck eventually became an Army Recruiting Station Commander, supervising six recruiters. He is the recipient of many awards, badges and ribbons, including: Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (2), Army Achievement Medal (4), Army Superior Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal (5), National Defense Service Medal (2), South West Asia Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, and Army Recruiter Badge – gold with 3 Sapphire Achievement Stars and Recruiter of Excellence Award from the Army’s Chief of Staff. He also achieved the Recruiter Ring and the Glenn E. Morrell Medallion.
Chuck is deeply committed to helping fellow veterans overcome physical and mental injuries and has supported various organizations and initiatives aligned with that mission. Since 2013, he has helped coordinate events for Denver SCI Humanitarian Outreach Program (SCIHop). He also has volunteered with Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Institute, helping vets complete therapy programs. In 2017, Chuck again raised his hand in volunteer service, this time for the River Deep Foundation, where he serves as lead point person and development coordinator of River Deep’s Vet-to-Vet Mentor Program. 

Susan Williamson

BOARD MEMBER

TBD

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