Heroes on the Water (HOW) teamed up with Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) to provide a group of wounded troops and their families a little fun in the sun on the Patuxent River Sept. 21.
Both organizations serve anyone from any branch of the military service, retired or active-duty, who has sought or is receiving treatment for mental or physical injuries.
After a safety briefing and a quick lesson on kayaking for the first-timers, the group – which numbered around 50 – launched their kayaks from the beach at Navy Recreation Center Solomons accompanied by volunteer fishing guides and buddies, and spent a few relaxing hours fishing or just floating on the water.
HOW believes the wounded and ill benefit from such a stress-free event by offering an alternative form of therapy to aid in their recovery.
“HOW gives them a family to belong to again, a unit, if you will, where they can be with folks who have shared the same experiences and situations; a comfort level that many cannot find on their own, separated from service,” explained Jim “Coop” Cooper, coordinator of the HOW Maryland Chapter. “For those still under treatment, it’s a break from treatment. It gets them out of the shell they may have withdrawn into and gets them back socializing, not only with others, but more importantly in some cases, with their own families.”
HOW supports anyone who has ever served in the military, including civilians, for any length of time. That also includes first responders and their families.
“For the average service member or first responder, it also provides recognition for their selfless service,” Cooper added. “It’s a way for us to say thank you and show our appreciation for what they do for all of us.”