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Boosting Veteran’s Health through Kayaking and Fishing

“I don’t want people to look at that one thing that happened to me and judge who I am by that,” Bryan Anderson said in an interview with Heroes on the Water.

Bryan Anderson’s appearance is striking. His energy dominates any situation he’s in with a bright smile and an intense yet warm gaze. But, those might not be the first things you notice about him.

“I’m much much more than just a triple amputee Iraq war veteran,” Bryan said.

Bryan met up with the organization Heroes on the Water to spend a day kayaking and fishing. Heroes on the Water knows that war veterans are more than their injuries, visible and invisible. The organization works towards a seemingly simple purpose: “To help warriors relax, rehabilitate and reintegrate through kayak fishing and the outdoors.”

To that end, Heroes on the Water organizes no-expense kayak fishing trips for active-duty military, veterans of the U.S. armed forces and first-responders and their families. The trips do not require experience or equipment. Participants can be as social or solitary as they like and it’s adaptive, molding to the requirements of the individual instead of the other way around.

“Once you get out there on the water, you do realize, you forget about the problems that are going on. It’s just about that fish,” said Jeremiah Dee, retired U.S. Army Sgt.

To date, the program has served 38,554 people and, according to an 18-month study conducted by Troy University, the impact of Heroes on the Water as a type of alternative therapy is significant with: 56% less stress, 60% less re-experience, 63% less avoidance and 62% less hyper-vigilance.

The work Heroes on the Water does squares up with America’s ER’s push for excellence in health care, and we are proud to support this organization. During May, Military Appreciation Month, we are teaming up to amplify support for our wounded soldiers. As part of that, we are giving away a free Kayak at the end of the month. Go here for details on how to enter the contest and support Heroes on the Water.