Meet Amber Helms of Heroes on the Water in Allen
Published on VoyageDallas.com – August 31, 2020
Today we’d like to introduce you to Amber Helms.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Amber. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Our mission is to help warriors relax and reconnect through kayak fishing and the outdoors. Heroes on the Water is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides alternative wellness programs that serves a community of veterans, first responders and their families. Using kayak fishing as the primary therapy, our volunteer-led chapters hold events that are free of charge for our nation’s heroes and their family members.
Our organization was founded in 2007 by a group of veterans and kayak fishing enthusiasts who wanted to give back to our veterans. HOW’s kayak fishing programs are proven to be effective and provide heroes with a way to positively improve their lives, enhance their family dynamic, and impact their community.
Has it been a smooth road?
Of course, it hasn’t! Our founder literally bought Non-Profits for Dummies when he started the organization. We have learned a lot the hard way. We had to figure out the best model for our volunteer-led chapters, which took several iterations. We had to learn how to motivate donors, which changes all the time. We struggled through turnover, and recently, the sudden loss of our founder, Jim Dolan, in 2019. While Jim had retired, he was still active and a strong presence. We miss him every day.
We’d love to hear more about Heroes on the Water.
Our non-profit provides alternative green therapy to veterans, first responders and their families to help them relax and reconnect through kayak fishing and the outdoors. We are one of the few veterans’ service organizations that believe in providing repeat experiences, rather than a single event. We are also one of the few that includes families in our services. We believe you have to heal the whole family, not just the veteran or first responder. Finally, we have served over 47,000 veterans and first responders, and over 12,000 family members, during our 13-year history. This is done primarily through our dedicated volunteer base. Our national support team is very small at six people to support more than 60 chapters in 30 states.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
It’s a wonderful place to start a new career, raise a family and grow into a new life. We attract a lot of veterans who are looking for jobs and education. The challenge is helping get the word out about our services amidst all the noise. It’s a very large, populous area.