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Chester County Press

Military veterans to enjoy a day on the water through 'Heroes' program

09/08/2015 02:40PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Veterans from all branches of the United States military will be enjoying a day of free fishing and other activities on the water at the Octoraro Lake Reservoir this Saturday, Sept. 12 as part of the Heroes on the Water program.

The event is being coordinated by the Central Pennsylvania chapter of Heroes on the Water. The national 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.

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.

Jim Neary, the owner of Jim Neary's Bait & Tackle in Kirkwood, is one of the local people involved with organizing the Sept. 12 event at the Octoraro Lake Reservoir. His shop is donating various supplies for the afternoon.

Neary, a military veteran himself, said that this is an opportunity to thank the veterans for their service to their country. He was pleased to help out in any way that he could, and he pledged to help out with future Heroes on the Water events.

On Saturday, the veterans will start to arrive at around 8 a.m. In addition to fishing and kayaking, there will other games like horseshoes and volleyball, as well as food and entertainment. The event is expected to last until at least 2 p.m.

Neary said that all the activities throughout the day are free for the veterans to enjoy, and a number of different organizations are helping out in a variety of ways, including the American Legion in Oxford. Many veterans in the area will also be volunteering to help participants.

“It's a good volunteer event,” explained Neary. “A lot of people will be involved. We'd like to see all the veterans come out and enjoy the day.”

Jim Neary's Bait & Tackle will serve as the starting venue for the event and is located at 212 Spruce Grove Road in Kirkwood. Any veteran interested in participating or any person interested in volunteering can call 717-529-2488 for more information.