VETERANS, SERVICE MEMBERS FIND PEACE ON AMERICAN LAKE
“They say it gives them something different, because some of them can’t really be around huge crowds.” Dino Abulencia, Chapter Coordinator, Northwest Chapter
Article Courtesy of Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System
Story by Sgt. Ryan Hallock, 20th Public Affairs Detachment
AMERICAN LAKE PARK, Wash. – Until the end of time, just as mankind is about to achieve what America’s forefathers envisioned as the pursuit of happiness, may be just that: a pursuit. Peace on the other hand, well, peace can be obtained with a little help from friends and Mother Nature.
“Sometimes I just like to get out to enjoy the scenery,” said Dino Abulencia, behind sunglasses and with his long, black hair pulled back. “I think that’s something the vets and soldiers are pulling away from this is the serenity of just being out there.”
Abulencia founded the Northwest chapter of Heroes on the Water (HOW), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans and service members try something different, find peace on the water, and reel in some lunkers.
The group of weekend fishermen, some new, some old, came together to learn the up and coming sport of kayak fishing June 22 on a sun-filled day at American Lake Monet would have painted.
Their mission is simple: provide a unique healing experience by taking the weight of the world off through kayaking and fishing.
With post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury numbers steadily rising in the ranks of our military, HOW provides veterans and service members with an innovative approach to mental, physical, and occupational therapy.
“I’ve spoken to many of the vets who have attended,” said Abulencia, who started the chapter last year. “They say it gives them something different, because some of them can’t really be around huge crowds.”
There’s plenty of real estate on American Lake and the only crowd is below the surface, waiting to get hooked, gutted and scaled, and slapped on a grill.