Heroes on the Water was recently subject to a study that could change the way you look at HOW and what we do. Don’t worry, this change of perspective is actually a good thing! You may be wondering why looking at Heroes on the Water differently could be beneficial. Well, we’ll tell you HOW!

N A T U R EFishing for Knowledge

Troy University conducted an 18-month study focused on alternative forms of therapy for individuals who were faced with traumatic experiences. Heroes on the Water and some of the unexplained results of our simple concept were the primary inspiration behind this study. The nature of the study not only displays the therapeutic benefits of what HOW does, but the study provides empirical data that shows just how valuable our programs are. The presentation of Troy University’s findings attracted a much larger crowd than expected, proving that there’s something here.

“This gives us the empirical proof to match the anecdotal comments that our participants and volunteers have been preaching. To have the actual numbers that show how we helped reduce stress or sleeplessness, gives a tested and studied valuation of what we do.” –Nathan Franks

On Display for All to See

Jim Dolan, our founder and fearless leader received a nice introduction and had the opportunity to talk about this nonprofit organization that so many of us love. In fact, about 90% of those who attended the presentation weren’t familiar with HOW at all. Attendees ranged from college students to masters students and even doctors who practice in this similar field of study.

The findings were incredible! Warriors who had no reason to get up off the couch before now had the motivation to do so. Our heroes experienced 56% less stress than before participating in these outdoor therapeutic outings for a short period of time. Many of the individuals who had experienced intense trauma from their service were only able to get a couple of hours of sleep in a given night, if that. Sleep is essential to every individual’s overall health. These nightmares and re-experiences that prevented our warriors from sleeping decreased by 60%. Now, instead of less than 2 hours of sleep a night, they were getting 5 or more. Can you imagine the sense of relief these brave men and women must feel after such drastic and remarkable physical changes? We also saw a 63% drop in avoidance from their family and comrades. They not only reconnected with themselves, but also with those who care about them.

Many individuals go about their daily lives and forget just how many heroes are out there that need help. The photographs had a great impact on the attendees. As we know, acknowledging the harsh realities of what our warriors go through is not easy at all. The weight of it all could be seen on attendees’ shoulders during the presentation; but that is what makes what we do so significant.

The Aftermath

After the conclusion of the presentation, people proceeded to seek out the representatives of HOW who were present just to say “thank you.” Some had no connection to a warrior and were simply moved by seeing how kayak fishing with HOW helps those who are faced with struggles. Others had family members who were vets, and knowing what they experienced, were eternally grateful that there is a program out there, which is now statistically proven to help our heroes. Volunteers came out of the woodwork, willing to lend a hand in any way possible.

Before now, we knew our program and experiences out on the water were beneficial for all those who participated, but we didn’t have solid evidence on what the specific effects were. There’s much more to be discovered and stacks of papers still waiting to be decoded by our friends at Troy University. But you can bet that moving forward we are sure to learn much more valuable information, including the longevity of the HOW program. We cannot wait to see what the future holds! Are you ready HOW Nation?

  1. Joseph Briones February 21, 2016 at 3:56 am - Reply

    Outstanding! As a Volunteer Veteran with HOW, it reinforces that my participation is not only important for me as a Volunteer, but as a Veteran as well. As a Volunteer Veteran, I get the same therapy as a participant. Thank you HOW for letting me continue to serve!

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