|Sent on:||Wednesday, January 25, 2012 4:34 AM|
TEAM PATRIOT PADDLE
Fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project/Heroes on the Water
1st Annual TEAM PATRIOT PADDLE
Sunday, May 27th 09:30 put-in
12K/8-mile down river run from Katie's Landing on the Wekiwa River to the Swamp House Grill on the St. John's River. The Swamp House Grill is an old South river joint in DeBary/Highbanks Marina - they graciously donate a part of the Team Patriot Paddle group lunch proceeds to the WWP - so chow down for a good cause! (besides they have the Happy Snapper Tiki Bar - just the name itself makes for a good post-event event)
In 2011, I did a 150-mile kayak fundraiser for the WWP - raising @$4,500 in individual donations - from Orlando to Jacksonville on the St. John's River. It was a huge challenge but a rewarding one. Along the way, I decided that I wanted to create an annual fundraising paddle event to benefit injured servicemen and women. But instead of a solo marathon I wanted to make it a shorter, more inclusive event. So, from Patriot Paddle sprung Team Patriot Paddle - an open invitation to get out on the water and do good things for those who have done great things for us.
For participants, the only requirement (beyond a paddle vessel and basic safety equipment) is to be an enthusiastic paddler and - here's the tricky part - an enthusiastic fundraiser. I learned from experience that asking people for money is a tough job. But it is also a rewarding one. 100% of the money raised goes directly to the Wounded Warrior Project or Heroes on the Water. While it's hard to ask people for money, it's harder to run a program helping recovering servicemen and women without it. Budget cuts impact the VA programs that provide essential services. How we treat the wounds of the sons and daughters sent to war makes us a great nation. After Vietnam, we didn't do it right - let's not let that happen again.
These sites explain what the WWP and HOW are and also how to directly contribute to them. I found that direct contributions are easier to deal with but cash is always welcome. I funded the 150-mile Patriot Paddle event out of pocket and ensured all money donated went to the WWP.
Wounded Warrior Project
Heroes on the Water
Orlando Sentinel article on the Patriot Paddle 150-mile event: http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/changetheworld/2011/12/salute-day-3-pilot-turns-to-kayaking-for-wounded-warrior-project.html
Water is not a natural environment for us. Learning to kayak allows people to conquer a new media. It provides a confidence to able to address an alien environment and overcome it's challenges. A wounded warrior has the same challenges to face during rehabilitation. Conquering an alien environment shows them that they have no limitations they cannot overcome. Getting out on the water in the beauty of our natural world shows them a world far removed from their current and past experiences and allows them to engage in a positive and healthy activity for both mind and body. Team Patriot Paddle exists to raise money and awareness for wounded warriors - to allow them to master and enjoy a world that isn't sterile and inhospitable. In doing so they see that they have control and are capable of anything anyone else can do. They can live a normal life despite their injuries.
Please join us on May 27th and help us raise donations and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project and Heroes on the Water.
Capt. John Blonsick
Facebook: Patriot Paddle in support of the Wounded Warrior Project