This video provided by Heroes on the Water sponsor Wilderness Systems tells the story of Jason Austin, a military policeman with 19 years of service, who was injured in an explosion when his car hit several IEDs. On top of the serious physical injuries he faced from the accident, he suffered from post traumatic stress. A phone call inviting Jason to go kayak fishing forever changed his life. Watch as Jason is able to leave his troubles on shore and gain his freedom back through nature.
Heroes on the Water helps our Nation's warriors and veterans from all branches of the United States military unwind using the therapeutic qualities of fishing from kayaks. What looks like a day trip of paddling and fishing is in fact something much deeper and long-lasting.
Founded in 2007,the unique kayak fishing program allows the participants a chance to decompress from the stresses associated with combat and the physical rigors of rehabilitation. Warriors enjoy these benefits while on guided fishing trips held in local communities around the country.
Participants receive basic kayak fishing and paddling instruction, angling clinics and paddling classes for participants with skill sets ranging from beginners to the most experienced paddlers.
The program also assists these personnel in adapting these newly developed skills to their new abilities. Adaptive kayaks, kayaking accessories and angling equipment is offered on an as needed basis to accommodate a soldier's particular needs.
The program is unique in that it is a long-term activity, not a one-time event. We believe that the effectiveness of the program is a direct result of engaging the wounded military personnel for the long-term.
One soldier, at the Center for the Intrepid, called what Heroes on the Water does "Triple Therapy" or "all at once therapy." On post he has to go to the gym for physical therapy, then go upstairs for his occupational therapy, and then go to the psychologist for mental therapy. With kayak fishing he gets it all at once – 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.
To learn more about this valuable program for our veterans, visit the Heroes on the Water website.