By Paul Lebowitz
"22 veterans take their lives each day," Heroes on the Water president Jim Dolan says, then pauses a moment to let the number sink in. "We need to fix that."
The organization offers therapeutic recreational outings to injured veterans – free of cost. The trips are an opportunity for the troops to leave their problems behind for a time. It doesn't sound like much, but the reality is it is incredibly effective.
"We're saving families and we're saving lives," Dolan says.
HOW has grown to 37 chapters in a short few years. "Folks are working their butts off to make this happen. Our vets deserve anything we can do for them," Dolan adds.
The need for programs such as HOW is staggering. Dolan says the organization is growing as fast as it can. He thinks they can add sixty chapters in the next year. To do it, they are raising funds via crowd-sourcing platform Razoo to restructure the parent organization and improve the training and guidance they offer to HOW's host of dedicated volunteers. Razoo donors also have the option to directly fund their local chapter.
"A lot of people who want to help but they don't know what to do. The beauty of crowd funding is you're engaging a whole lot of people each doing a little bit," Dolan says.
HOW is celebrating a major milestone. "When we first started out, the national headquarters was supporting all the chapters. This year they are supporting themselves," Dolan says. This allows HOW headquarters to focus its funds on getting new chapters up and running.
"We need your help. We don’t need much but we need it from everyone,"
Dolan says. Even $5 or $10 makes a difference. HOW’s current Thanks for Freedom Razoo campaign is aiming to raise $9,000 by November 21.