The Olympics is such a proud time for every country, and yes, we absolutely root for every amazing man and woman competing for the United States in the 2018 Olympics. As an organization that supports veterans, active-duty military, first responders and their families, those athletes who have military ties hold an extra special place in our hearts. We are beaming with pride over the number of athletes who represent this dynamic and want to give a big HOW Nation “shout out” to all of them!
2018 Olympic Contenders
There are seven soldiers participating – four bobsledders and three lugers – and six are associated with the ARMY MWR World Class Athlete Program designed to allow service men and women to train for international athletic competitions while serving. They include:
Returning bobsled team members include 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist Sgt. Justin Olsen from San Antonio, Texas; 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist Cpt. Chris Fogt from Alpine, Utah; and 2010 and 2014 Olympic team member Sgt. Nick Cunningham from Monterey, California. Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Weber, of the 10th Special Forces, from Pueblo West, Colorado rounds out the team. (Check out the NBC interview with the bobsled team.)
Whether focusing on military, first responders or anyone with challenges, there are no shortages of eco-therapy programs. All sorts of fishing, hiking, or horseback riding groups are available; and yet at Heroes on the Water we choose to focus on fishing from kayaks. Why?
There are statistics, studies and articles to support our idea, but we like to focus on the feedback from our participants. Consistently they state how peaceful it is to be in a kayak. You are close to the water, there is no roar of the motor, only the soothing sounds of a paddle as it gently glides through the water. And they consistently tell us that participating in a HOW event saved their life.
Ray Queen comes from a family that has served our country and community for decades. His grandfather was in WW II, his cousin was in the Army, and his mother was a dispatcher for the police, just to name a few. As he puts it, he grew up in camouflage.
“GI Joe was my hero. The only thing I ever wanted to do was serve my country,” says Ray.
9-11 simply solidified for Ray that his desire to be in the military was something that had to happen. He remembers vividly the details of that day. What is particularly noble is Ray’s thoughts on why he had to enlist, particularly his ideals of how he had to give part of his life to service to be a real American citizen.
Heroes on the Water is proud to serve our nation’s heroes, an honor we have enjoyed for the last 10 years. As we celebrate our 10th year, it’s time to also think about ways we can continue to be of service to those who give so much to us.
In 2018, we are looking forward to officially adding first-responders and their families as a group we will serve through our proven therapeutic kayak fishing experiences. We find that many first-responders have also served our country through military service. And if not, they certainly give of themselves in a job that is dangerous and life-threatening. We believe this group deserves the opportunity to relax and rehabilitate as they, too, give so much to ensure our freedom and way of life.
Of course, we will continue our important mission of serving veterans, active-duty military, and their families through expansion of chapters and support of existing chapters around the United States and abroad. After all, they served for us, so it’s our turn to return the favor.
It is crucial that we support the well-being of those men and women who choose to bravely run toward danger, keeping us safe, protecting our borders, and ensuring our freedom.
It is an honor to be a part of this mission, and we hope you will consider joining us as a part of HOW Nation.
There is more than one way to ensure your rights are protected – you can simply provide a way for warriors and heroes to enjoy a moment of peace and tranquility in their otherwise hectic lives. Help us in make 2018 the best year for HOW Nation by donating today. Let’s give back to those brave men and women, showing we care enough to support their well-being and are grateful for their sacrifices.
Ecotherapy – a nice term for what many may believe is just a fancy way of saying do cool stuff outside. Nothing could be further from the truth. Howard Clinebell, who wrote the book on ecotherapy in 1996, stated the term refers to healing and growth nurtured by healthy interaction with the earth. This therapy has become more mainstream as people spend more time indoors, and are looking for a way to manage stress, depression and whole host of other issues without the use of drugs or more traditional psychotherapy.
According to an article in Psychology Today, we crave being in nature. It’s in our makeup to want to be outdoors, immersed in the calming effect it brings to us. In today’s societal makeup, the ability to “unplug” is a rare gift – so rare there are entire vacation clubs dedicated to finding ways to unplug and get away. Nature is calming, and gives us a chance to simply be.
It’s Proven – We Need to be Outdoors
When Heroes on the Water first began kayak fishing experiences, we could see and feel first-hand the impact on our warriors. But we really didn’t know why or what was happening.