Every wounded warrior and their family deserve the opportunity to live a healthy and fulfilling life. We found a unique way to assist this process through our mission to help injured military personnel to relax, rehabilitate and reintegrate into society through kayak fishing and the outdoors.
As a national organization with local chapter delivery of services, every Heroes on the Water outing brings together wounded military personnel for guided kayak fishing excursions, at no cost to our warriors or their families. They are taught kayaking and kayak fishing basics, and sometimes adaptive kayaks and paddling equipment are required. Warriors spend quality time with other kayak fisherman, connect with peers that “get it”, and most of all leave behind stresses and memories for several hours while communing with nature.
Our program offers injured military personnel suffering from visible and invisible wounds an outdoor therapeutic experience that yields independence, hope, and recovery through mastery of a new sustainable life skill – one that will be there for them when they need to escape and restore their self-confidence. They also learn a new sport that provides a lifetime of family enjoyment, helping them to restore their relationship and hope for a better life.
The program is unique in that it is a long-term activity, not a one-time event; basic program resources are plentiful and inexpensive (fishing, kayaks, and water); simplicity of the program allows for replication; there is ease of participation and adaptation to special needs; and our approach is not “we want to help you” but rather engaging participants equally in the activity, respecting their privacy, while building trust.
Currently, our 36 local chapters, with a vast network of 1100+ volunteers, deliver the program in 23 states, with 6 chapters in Texas, and six in Florida. Our volunteer corps has provided over 4,100 Vet Days on the water in our brief four and a half years. Heroes on the Water benefits the wounded warriors and their families – on a grass roots basis, nearly every week of the year – due to the generosity of our volunteers and donors who stand behind our work.
Heroes on the Water helps our Country’s injured, active duty, and veterans from all branches of the United States military heal using the therapeutic qualities of fishing from kayaks.
For thousands of wounded warriors, 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.
One soldier, at the Center for the Intrepid, called what we do “Triple Therapy” or “all at once therapy.” On post, he has to go to the gym for physical therapy, then go upstairs for his occupational therapy, and then go to the psychiatrist for mental therapy. With kayak fishing he gets it all at once. He gets physical therapy from paddling and fishing, occupational therapy because he is learning a lifetime sport/activity, and mental because of the total concentration on himself and relaxing in nature with no distractions or expectations of performance. He says, “It’s better than being in the barracks and the hospital settings. It’s relaxing for me. Just gave me a break from everything…a reset button for me.”
You can help our country’s warriors capture the freedom they fought to protect when you invest in Heroes on the Water’s unique kayak fishing program. With 36 chapters operating and new chapters seeking to be chartered, the opportunity to provide access to more wounded warriors in their communities is now.
Our injured military personnel face a lifetime of challenges. You can guarantee Heroes on the Water will be there to help!
For more information about this organization, visit their website at www.herosonthewater.org.