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Kayak fishing is widely known as a peaceful yet thrilling way of tuning in with mother nature and expanding a skill you may not realize you had in the first place. This couldn’t be more true for the folks who started Heroes on the Water (HOW), but their mission strikes a higher note for those in need of rehabilitation.

Heroes on the Water is a 501(c)(3) veterans’ charity that creates alternative wellness programs to serve veterans, active-duty military personnel, first responders and their families. It all began in 2007 when a group of “rag tag” kayak fisherman and founder, Jim Dolan, decided to do something special with their mutual love for kayak fishing. Their mission didn’t involve fancy consultants or a string of focus groups. Instead, it was a team of people passionate about their hobby. Dolan didn’t start with a plan to build what would become a national non-profit that serves veterans, first responders and their families — he just liked to fish.

“At first, we were thinking of working with kids and schools. However, all three of us originally involved are veterans, so we decided to reach out to Brooke Army Medical Center and see if we could take the folks out. Major Cody Roberson helped us work with the Center for the Intrepid.”

Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) Center for the Intrepid states their threefold mission is to provide rehabilitation for OIF/OEF casualties who have sustained amputation, burns, or functional limb loss, to provide education to DoD and Department of Veteran’s Affairs professionals on cutting edge rehabilitation modalities, and to promote research in the fields of Orthopedics, prosthetics and physical/occupational rehabilitation.

Article by Shorey Andrews
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