| by  | Feb 28, 2024

‘Heroes on the Water’ helps veterans find healing and peace on the water

Heroes on the Water helps Veterans, first responders, and their families by offering peaceful healing environments. Founded in 2007 as a non-profit, it organizes free outdoor programs, primarily focused on kayak fishing, which has proven benefits for mental and emotional well-being. These programs are open to active-duty Service Members, Veterans, law enforcement officers, first responders, and their families.

The organization’s vision is to create a future where heroes and their families can find healing through outdoor activities like kayak fishing. They believe in providing these experiences at no cost to participants, with events organized by dedicated volunteers. Everyone who wants to engage can participate in these activities, as they don’t require any prior knowledge or equipment.

To find a chapter near you, click here.

Jim Dolan, an Air Force Veteran, was instrumental in initiating these programs. The inspiration behind Heroes on the Water came from Dolan’s desire to help Veterans transition into civilian life more smoothly. His own experience with kayak fishing brought him peace, and he wanted to extend this healing to others. Even though Dolan has passed away, his legacy lives on through Heroes on the Water.

With 53 active chapters and five therapeutic programs across 24 states, including California, Heroes on the Water has served over 61,000 individuals. The organization’s impact extends beyond numbers; it has become a vital resource for Veterans and first responders seeking support and camaraderie. Their programs have shown effectiveness in reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, aiding in the healing of traumatic brain injuries, and overall improving well-being.

One such Veteran, Pat Cochrane, shared his story of struggling with the psychological and emotional effects of combat stress. Through participation in kayak fishing programs, Cochrane found moments of solace and reflection, aiding in his transition.

Volunteers play an important role in the success of Heroes on the Water. They facilitate events, coordinate activities, and provide support to participants. Individuals with skills in kayaking, fishing, outdoor experience, photography, social media management, event planning, and administration are encouraged to volunteer. Additionally, those with other skill sets can reach out to their local chapters to ask about how they can contribute.

Whether through participating, volunteering, starting a chapter, or sponsorship, there are various ways to support Heroes on the Water’s mission of healing and community-building. Visit the Heroes on Water website for more information.

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