Over a million injured military veterans, from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are hurting and they need our help.
Four years ago, Heroes on the Water (HOW) was birthed with a single purpose: To help wounded warriors – injured military personnel – relax, rehabilitate, and reintegrate with society through kayak fishing and the outdoors.
Most American citizens have never heard of Heroes on the Water, and they are unaware of the magnitude of the problem we face.
A recent PEW Research Center study reveals that 1.3 million of our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans return home to the USA with injuries and illnesses from their military service. These wounded warriors are fighting a new battle, a fight to reintegrate into society and return home to their families. (Jan 2012) Disabled American Veterans magazine, “Burden of War Growing”) They need and deserve our help.
Jim Dolan is a veteran Air Force pilot and founder of Heroes on the Water. In his words, “The simple, inexpensive, and proven restorative power of kayak fishing is providing powerful results for our wounded warriors and their families”.
For thousands of our hurting heroes, kayak fishing has become a powerful and liberating source of rehabilitation. It shatters the perceived limits of their injuries and creates an openness to interact, learn new skills, and focus on the bright future ahead.
There are three reasons for the success of Heroes on the Water:
- HOW is responding to the tremendous need of returning vets, over half of whom are dealing with injuries, visible and invisible. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are, by far, the most prevalent and longer term problems. Kayak fishing creates positive memories overriding the negative images and memories from PTSD and TBI.
- HOW takes veterans kayak fishing – providing “triple therapy”:
- physical exercise – paddling and fishing occupational skills – learning a lifetime activity
- mental and emotional healing – relaxing outdoors on the water.
- Kayak fishing also offers camaraderie, a sense of independence, and a new sport they can do with their families. It renews their spirit, and gives them hope.
Through the generosity of donors and volunteers, Heroes on the Water provides a free service to our veterans. These brave men and women are treated with dignity and respect. They feel valued and appreciated. This is a tremendous boost to their emotional well-being and social health.