By Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado — Master Sgt. Jonathan Kiley, curriculum development superintendent at the Vosler NCO Academy, leads Airmen by day and helps veterans by night.
“I started volunteering with Project Healing Water because I have a passion for fly fishing,” said Kiley. “Then I found a program that helps wounded warriors, people with post-traumatic stress disorder and Armed Forces members that can utilize those skills to help them cope.”
Kiley began volunteering for the national program at what was then Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, teaching and mentoring members. Upon arriving at Peterson AFB he started volunteering at the local chapter as well. Holding approximately 50 events each year for more than 300 veterans, Kiley’s passion grew from teaching classes to leading the program.
“I taught fly tying for the first two years here, where I sat back and taught a few of the participants,” said Kiley. “Then I really wanted to improve the program so Bill Kirk and I got together this year and developed courses from beginning to advance tying.” Kirk is another volunteer in the program.
Kiley is in charge of setting up classes for fly tying, rod building and casting. He also sets up training for mentors and trip leaders, to prepare them for everything from organizing a class to basic emergency medical care.
The goals of the courses are to equip the members with a constructive hobby and somewhere for past and present Armed Forces members to socialize. The courses provide instruction of all fly styles so the members can look at a tie and know how to make it. The different courses also teach the members the difference between ties and what is best for the different fish, not just the ones found in Colorado.
“He (Kiley) is able to bridge his off-duty interests with helping our veterans and people with PTSD,” said Chief Master Sgt. Todd Krulcik, Vosler NCOA commandant. “It’s great to have Airmen, like Kiley, that are not only doing an outstanding job in the classroom instructing Airmen, but also spends his free time giving back to the community to help individuals who have already given so much.”
While teaching at the NCOA, Kiley encourages the students to find their life passions and use them to help others in the community.
“It is an important part of our Airmanship to encourage our Airmen to take the time to give back,” said Krulcik.