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Friday, 13 September 2019 15:57

Hope & Healing For Veterans Thanks To Heroes on the Water Event

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If you are a kayak fishing enthusiast in America, then chances are good that you have already heard about Heroes on the Water. 
The organization was founded 11 years ago when a group of people who are passionate about their favorite hobby and wanted to use it to help others. The founder, Jim Dolan, didn't start out with the idea that he would be leading the way to build a non-profit serving veterans, first responders, and their families. Instead, he simply liked to fish and things progressed naturally from there. Jim discovered the positive manner in which veterans responded to the simple act of being out in a fishing kayak, according to Heroes on the Water communications and community engagement director, Laura Armbruster. 
 
Since its inception Heroes on the Water features monthly kayak fishing events that take place from March all the way through to October each year. These events start at 8 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month and are held at Lake Fayetteville. The experience is free and open to veterans, first responders and their family members. Everyone participating launches their kayaks at 9.a.m, and then return for lunch, which is served at noon. The events are designed to promote healing and camaraderie and participants also have the opportunity to collect a few fish stories along the way. 
 
About 17 people participated in a Heroes on the Water kayak fishing event that was held earlier this month on Lake Fayetteville. The Heroes on the Water Northwest Arkansas Chapter coordinator, Brian Clark, said that any event participants attend is a success and that it's a way of giving back to them, so it doesn't matter if it's just one or a hundred attending. Laura Armbruster also said that since 2014 Heroes on the Water has served 41,572 veterans and first responders and 11,142 family members. The events encourage participants to bring their families as it is a part of the healing process. 
 
Armbruster went on to say that the events are open to participants at varying levels of healing. Kayak fishing is a hobby that can be done regardless of your circumstances and many of the kayaks used by Heroes on the Water have adaptive equipment for those who need it. For many participants, the act of taking part in kayak fishing is often the first time in months that they can do something that is independent, depending on the level of injury and rehab that they are undergoing. 
 
Participants such as disabled veteran Wade Kamps of Rogers has stated that Heroes on the Water help struggling veterans get out of the house when they might not have otherwise done so. Kamps served in both the Army National Guard and the Navy but suffers from depression that makes it a challenge for him to get motivated to leave his own home. For him, Heroes on the Water is a great event to get people out and moving and socializing with other people. Brian Clark added that he hopes participants continue to attend future Heroes events for continued support and healing. According to Clark, the healing comes over time, so he wants participants to keep coming back, get out into nature and unplug a little bit.
Last modified on Friday, 13 September 2019 16:00
Naomi Bolton

Yakangler's Community Manager and Editor - in charge of sourcing news and articles for the website.  If you have any ideas for new content, please do get in touch with me at: [email protected]com.

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