HOW helps veterans using fishing to recover
Redfish Bay in Aransas Pass played host to the Coastal Bend Chapter of Heroes on the Water, a not for profit program that helps wounded veterans assimilate back into civilian life.
This program, which began in Aransas Pass with a few fellow kayakers, veterans and likeminded people, has been serving America’s injured veterans since 2007 and has grown into a nation-wide program. Kayakers now volunteer to host chapters in over 17 states, and the group continues to grow.
“The premise is to take people kayak fishing, yet this activity gives injured vets so much more. It’s really an outlet for being able to take control of something again,” said HOW volunteer and supporter Jennifer Thomas. “Most of the participants are newly injured, like just being released from the hospital or possibly still being treated and this is part of their therapy as an official outing.”
HOW welcomes the veterans and their families to the events, and helps them manage their own craft and fishing gear. According to Thomas, this is a new concept for most soldiers transitioning to civilian life who still use last names and ranks when they address each other, to just be on their own in their own kayak without a directive or mission.
“But we do this new mission in a group with other experienced kayakers so we can help each other, teach techniques and answer questions,” Thomas said. “We provide a team and sense of belonging to something that isn’t war and soldiering, so they have something new to look forward to and use as a way of coming back to our simple, thankful, minor, worry-free life. These activities are totally cost free, minus getting there, and families are encouraged to participate also. Th is outing was made possible by many local donations and volunteers providing rooms, services and food. Thank you, and to all veterans thank you for your service.”
If you know of any veterans in this area that are suffering or are in need of an outlet or pastime, email contact firstname.lastname@example.org so they can be included in the next outing. Visit www.heroesonthewater.org for more information or to make a donation.