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Heroes on the Water

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Human Services, Mental Health, Mental Health & Crisis Intervention, Recreation & Sports, Sports

Mission: To help returning warriors relax, rehabilitate, and reintegrate through kayak fishing and the outdoors. Heroes on the Water has helped thousands of our nation's warriors overcome difficulties brought on by multiple deployments. HOW empowers veterans to decompress and reconnect with themselves, their family, and become part of a lifelong community.

Results: Our program has been privileged to serve over 12,824 warriors since 2007. In 2014, we provided 3,590 warriors and 1,116 family members a chance to unwind and enjoy the benefits of our kayak fishing program. As a national program, 35 chapters and a therapeutic program deliver the program in 19 states. A network of 4,371 committed volunteers gave 36,111 volunteer hours delivering the program at a value of $833,081 that leveraged the financial investments. Our therapeutic program is showing promise. A study of 79 warriors over 180 days that kayak fished as part of their rehabilitation demonstrated a 78% reduction in overall stress, 77% reduction in hyper vigilance, 63% reduction in avoidance behavior, and a 56% reduction in recurring nightmares. 2015 is proving to demonstrate continued expansion of our blueprint to reach more returning veterans and their families and help them reconnect in their journey home.

Target demographics: returning warriors relax, rehabilitiate and reintegrate

Direct beneficiaries per year: returning warriors and their families with 3,590 vet days on the water.

Geographic areas served: locations across the U.S.A.

Programs: kayak fishing in the outdoors. The program is provided at no cost to the veterans or their families.

Community Stories

77 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Fred35

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Heroes on the water Rio Grande Valley is an invaluable resource to escape too for veterans of all branches to decompress and unwind a little with other fellow veterans.... To see and be part of this organization is both a blessing and an honor.

To find out how you can join/help your local chapter near you, visit http://heroesonthewater.org/

Paddle, Fish, Heal ----- Fred Garcia

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Heroes on the water Rio Grande Valley is an invaluable escape for veterans of all branches to decompress and unwind a little with other veterans.... To see and be part of this organization is both a blessing and an honor. To find out how you can join/help your local chapter near you, visit http://heroesonthewater.org/ Paddle, Fish, Heal ----- Fred Garcia

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't thank this organization enough for offering a chance to find peace and hope, specifically Karl and Dawn from the George Washington Chapter. My service dog, Rona, and I have participated in three events in the DC area, and the results, at least from my perspective, are immeasurable. Thank you to HOW!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Heroes on the Water is a wonderful nonprofit organization that helps our wounded veterans and their families. After experiencing a couple of outings it's my new charity of choice. They exceeded my expectations by delivering a truly remarkable experience.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I recently attended my first Heroes on the Water event in San Diego, California. I was totally impressed with the professionalism of the volunteers and the inclusiveness of the families and service members in all the day's activities. This organization lives and breathes its mission. All one needs to do is attend an event and see the transformation that takes place. This organization makes me proud as a veteran.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Heroes on the Water is more than just a fun time. All the leaders of Chapters I have met are oustanding individuals. They truly care about today's Veterans and let each and everyone of use know we are not alone. I have made so many friends from attending HOW events. They give me a appreciation for life. Thanks for all you do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Heroes On the Water has helped so many people and has changed so many lives.... just here in the San Antonio/New Braunfels/Coastal Bend area. Paddle, Fish, Heal- I guarantee it works.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been part of the Northeast OK HOW chapter for 5 years. These folks are now my family and I can't imagine my life without any of them. Even though kayak fishing is the focus, the day on the water isn't just about kayaking or fishing. The relaxation on the water and being out in the outdoors can't be measured. The laughter and smiles warm your heart. Sometimes there is some ribbing, but it's always in good fun. Once you attend an event, you are part of the family. HOW has made my life and my family's lives better. No question about it!

Advisor

Rating: 5

I've had the privilege of interviewing several veterans who have received services from Heroes on the Waters and their stories are very powerful! In every case, the veteran has credited the HOW experience with giving him/her inner peace. They note the benefits of camaraderie, tranquility and the ability to move more easily into their civilian lives. In every case, the veterans told me that HOW has significantly impacted their lives, included several who state that HOW saved their lives.

Here is a quote from the article Thankful for our HOW Family that supports my statements (you can find many of these on the blog of the HOW website):

“Not only has Heroes on the Water saved my life, but they have made it so I can be so much more successful, help others be successful, and provide for my family.” –Brandon Walden

It's proven that being in nature, particularly on the water, is therapeutic. For those who have given so much, it can be life changing. I'm blessed to have the opportunity to hear so many of these stories, and am proud to be part of an organization that saves so many.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer with this organization for 5+ years. As a volunteer I get a share one of my passions, kayak fishing, with my brothers and sisters. Its truly a great feeling passing on one of my stress relievers to another veteran and watching the thrill of being on the water and catching fish. To see a veteran show up hesitant but leave with huge smiles and new friends is truly rewarding. When you add the fact that their families can participate as well and you see those special moments shared it adds another level of pride.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for the first time earlier this year for RGV HOW chapter as a guide I was a bit nervous at first but fell right into place after talking to a few Veterans on how pumped up they were to do sum fishing. I had so much fun watching veterans and their families go out on the kayaks for the first time, catching their first fish, and leaving with a big smile and wanting to come back the next event. Is a great feeling to experience giving back to those that have given so much for me and for our Country. It a Honor to give back to our Veterans and to ones that are still serving our Country

Donor

Rating: 5

I have known the founder of HOW for many years and witnessed the passion and commitment of his time and personal resources to get program started and bringing all important comfort and assistance to veterans. I have donated significantly to the program for years and has seen how efficiently and effectively my dollars have been used directly for program purposes.

Brad, Fairfax, VA

Damian4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered with the DC chapter of Heroes On the Water for three events and have had a great time. The DC staff plans and executes these events well and all of the volunteers work well as a team in order to assist and create a great time/atmosphere for our veterans. I am very happy to have found a charity that I look forward to volunteering at. The DC chapter has created a great community of kayak fishermen that give back to the past and present military community.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I volunteered for the first time for RGV HOW chapter as a guide I enjoyed it very much that I wanted to continue. Just watching veterans and their families go out on a kayak for the first time, catching their first fish, and leaving with a big smile and wanting to come back. Is a great feeling to experience. Getting to know other veterans and volunteers in the same area, getting that sense of brotherhood again is awesome. I can't say thank you enough for letting me be apart of this chapter.

1 Javier D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer as a guide when I can for 2 years now with South Texas RGV HOW group. What an AWESOME experience and group. I can't say enough about the organization, preparation, and satisfaction of these events. Healing and friendships.....

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My wife and I volunteer with Heroes on the water RGV. It's a great orginazation and a great way to give back to the men and women who have served our great nation.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I started volunteering after my brother started fishing with them! We believe in what they are doing and when we are able, whether my brother is fishing in the event or not, we offer support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with HOW for a year now. I feel very blessed to be able to help out. I started out wanting to show my gratitude to veterans. I have been so blessed at every outing. Seeing the difference this organization makes for our vets is amazing.
Seeing a vet go from arriving, standing alone and leaving soon after lunch to him arriving with a smile on his face, helping out and hugging everyone before leaving.
Wow! What a difference!!
Thank you HOW
I will continue to volunteer and help out in any way I can.

Client Served

Rating: 5

HOW is the best local veteran's organization in the Sarasota area. You couldn't ask for nicer and more accommodating people who really enjoy getting together and being active. It's always a great time that leaves you feeling refreshed. My son, a disabled vet, appreciates being around other vets. Raul is a perfect leader. Yay for HOW!!!

4 Joe_86

Volunteer

Rating: 5

2 years ago was the first time I heard about Heroes on the Water and I wanted to know more about it. I read the pamphlet I was given and checked out their website and found the closest chapter was in Corpus Christi. My wife and I started to help the chapter in C/C and watched the veterans transform. My wife and I have started a chapter here in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. As a veteran comes out to participate for the first time they don't know what the outcome will be for them. During an event they are able to communicate with their brothers and sisters in arms and fellowshipping with one another has brought them closer together. The family gets to see their father and mother smiling and laughing. This is what Heroes on the Water does they bring back hope to the veterans. It shows them that people love and care for them and appreciate what they have done for this country.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We found out about Heroes on the Water back in 2014 at a Fly Fishing Expo in New Braunfels, Texas. We were given some pamphlets to read and visited their website to find out more about the organization. We found the closest chapter to us and we contacted the Coordinator and asked what we could do to help. He gave us the date of their next event and we told him that we would be there. When we arrived early that Saturday morning we started to help unloading equipment, setting up kayaks, paperwork, and anything else that was needed. As all the Veterans launched the Coordinator told us of the "Triple Therapy" that kayak fishing provided: physical therapy from paddling and fishing, occupational therapy learning a lifetime sport/activity, and mental therapy from relaxing in nature with no distractions or expectations of performance. We also noticed that when the Veterans had returned from fishing and were enjoying lunch they were much more relaxed, talkative, laughing, sharing their experiences with their fellow brothers, and smiling.
Volunteering with Heroes on the Water has been very rewarding to us as we have seen first hand the difference that it makes in the Veteran's life not just for him or her but for their family as well.

2 Matt O.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I heard about Heroes on the Water back in 2012 from my parents. I was a participant in 2013 and evryone was so friendly, I had just been medically retired and had a ton of internal demons I was fighting, all of the volunteers helped me find a way to get back to what really matters. In 2014 I started volunteering for Heroes on the Water because I knew the information on how I conquered some of the demons could eventually help someone one day, that is why this is such a wonderful non-profit organization, and I will continue to support and help as much as possible. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU.