U.S. military veterans enjoy a day of recreation on the water
● By Steven Hoffman
The rain held off long enough for the U.S. military veterans who attended the Heroes on the Water event to enjoy a tranquil day of fishing and kayaking at the Octoraro Lake Reservoir on Sept. 12.
The event was made possible by the Central Pennsylvania chapter of Heroes on the Water. The national Heroes on Water organization was founded in 2007 as a way to help the nation's veterans unwind by using the therapeutic qualities of fishing from kayaks. Participants are able to relieve the stress associated with combat and the physical rigors of rehabilitation by what they learn during the day on the water.
Jim Neary, the owner of Jim Neary's Bait & Tackle in Kirkwood, was one of the local people involved with organizing the Sept. 12 event, and he was very pleased with the results.
“The day turned out to be fantastic,” Neary said, explaining that there were plenty of volunteers who turned out to make sure that the veterans enjoyed their day.
In addition to fishing and kayaking, there will other games like horseshoes and volleyball, as well as food and entertainment, including a deejay.
According to the Heroes on the Water website, there have been 12,824 days of on-the-water activities in communities throughout the U.S. These days have resulted in a 78 percent reduction in stress for participants, a 77 percent reduction in hyper vigilance, and a 63 percent reduction in avoidance behavior.
Neary, a military veteran himself, said that this was an opportunity to thank the veterans for their service to their country, and he was glad to donate to the cause. He explained that all the activities throughout the day were free for the veterans to enjoy thanks to the generous contributions of a number of different individuals, businesses, and organizations that helped out. One example was the Chester Water Authority, which donated bottles of water for the veterans and volunteers. Pro Sound provided the music for the event. Landhope Farms made a donation for the event, as did other businesses. Numerous veterans showed up to volunteer. Some people who couldn't volunteer for the day dropped off checks to help the cause.
Organizers were so pleased with this effort that they are now planning the next Heroes on the Water event for the Octoraro Lake Reservoir that will likely take place next May.