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.)
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.
What kind of person chooses to volunteer large amounts of time to a non-profit after enduring a sexual assault, major injury and chronic body pain, survives major lung surgery after battling meningitis and epilepsy, and even today struggles some days to get out of bed? That would be a person of fortitude and bravery, like Dawn.
Dawn Martin, recently appointed chapter coordinator for the Heroes on the Water chapter at Brooks Army Medical Center, has spent a lifetime in service. Starting at 18 years old, she left her friends and family behind to join the Navy – not an easy thing to do, particularly for a young person.
When Jennifer Nolan enlisted into the Navy at 17 years old, she intended to make that her lifelong career. However, two years into her service, she became pregnant, and realized that her life plans were going to change.
Today she still utilizes her Navy training as a photographer, but her life is much different.
“Even though my time in the military was not long, I found meaningful friendships. The military became my family, and even today I feel aligned with my fellow veterans,” said Jennifer. “When I was looking for a way to stay connected and found Heroes on the Water, I knew I had to get more involved.”
As many of our veterans and active-duty military, Jennifer has struggled with depression and anxiety. Volunteering with Heroes on the Water has created an outlet for her and her family while supporting her in healing herself.
As we celebrate another Independence Day, the subject of freedom is top of mind. Everyone has a different idea of freedom, which is exactly what the men and women fought for so bravely all these years – the freedom of choice. Recently, we caught up with Steve Graff, chapter coordinator for East Texas, and asked him what freedom means to him.
“That’s a tough question right now. I am not an outwardly political person, but it gets harder not to be in today’s climate. The whole freedom thing to me it means protect my borders, feed my hungry take care of my infrastructure and get out of my way.
“Freedom is a tricky concept because it’s different for everyone. For me it’s the right to believe what you want to believe without risk of punishment for those beliefs. Flag burners and protestors don’t bother me at all because I served so they could do that without ending up in Siberia. Does it offend me? Sure! But there’s nothing in our nation’s history or constitution that says you have the right NOT to be offended.