Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Heroes on the Water


I was introduced to Heroes on the Water shortly after I was crowned Mrs. Texas International. It was one of my first appearances and one that I hold very close to my heart so I wanted to share a little about the organization. The founder and president, Jim Dolan, also lives in North Texas and is a United States Air Force veteran. I was lucky to meet him at my first event and was able to learn more of the why behind Heroes on the Water.

Heroes on the Water, founded in 2007, helps our Nation’s warriors and veterans from all branches of the United States military unwind using the therapeutic qualities of fishing from kayaks. These men and women are offered the chance to decompress from the stresses associated with combat and the physical rigors of rehabilitation. They learn basic kayak fishing and paddling instruction with skill sets anywhere from beginners to experienced paddlers.

After a morning on the water, participants are provided lunch and the chance to simply talk to their fellow veterans. The stories that they have shared with me and how Heroes on the Water truly saved them from a downward spiral have touched my heart beyond measure. One in particular, stands out to me. He has come so far because of the organization. He was a shut in and had not left his house in many years because his PTS (remember drop the D) was so bad. Every step outside of his house was a trigger for him, even walking to the mailbox, because sometimes bombs are placed in mailboxes. He was finally convinced to attend an outing and it changed him. He is now an even better husband and father than he was before.

For my family, and many others like mine, I love the fact that it is truly something that we can do as a unit. Justin enjoys taking the boys out on the water in the kayak (and they love it, too) and I enjoy talking to other families and seeing the bond that we are all forming. It seems simple enough, right? The best part is that it truly is! No expectations, maybe a friendly competition to see who catches the biggest fish that day, but truly a peaceful and calming setting.

As the International spokesperson for the organization, I am happy to work alongside of the staff to add even more chapters nationwide as well as internationally in the coming months and years. We currently have over 75 applications for chapters wanting to form. It has been a blessing to us and I know it will be for many others as well.

Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’

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