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Fayetteville event promotes hope, healing on the water for veterans

August 11, 2019 FAYETTEVILLE — Veterans and first responders had an opportunity to heal and perhaps to collect a few fish stories Saturday on Lake Fayetteville.

About 17 people participated in a Heroes on the Water kayak fishing event designed to promote healing and camaraderie.

Brian Clark, Heroes on the Water Northwest Arkansas Chapter coordinator, said any Heroes on the Water event participants attend is a success.

“I don’t care if it’s just one or if it’s a hundred,” Clark said. “It’s my way of giving back to them.”

Heroes on the Water began in 2007 when founder Jim Dolan discovered the positive manner in which veterans responded to the simple act of being out in a kayak fishing, said Laura Armbruster, Heroes on the Water communications and community engagement director.

“I think there’s this idea that time heals all wounds, and I think it’s important for people to understand that it takes a little more than time,” Armbruster said. “We owe it to the people who put themselves on the line day in and day out for our freedom and our safety to be there for them when they need us.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder and depression have been some of the most studied health challenges among veterans and rescue and response workers, according to an article published in September 2018 by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. As many as 34% of those studied were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, while 21-53% struggle with depression.

Heroes on the Water recognizes veterans and first responders have many of the same needs for healing, Armbruster said.

Read full story published by: Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Written by Mary Jordan | August 11, 2019

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