OLD TOWN, MAINE, July 20, 2015 — From July 20 to November 22, 2015, four combat veterans will paddle the entire length of the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca, MN to the Gulf of Mexico. Each will be aboard an Old Town NEXT for the 2,320-mile trip. Old Town dedicated the watercraft to WARRIOR HIKE after learning that the organization was expanding to include paddling expeditions as well as hiking excursions for veterans, and was evolving their mission to become "WARRIOR EXPEDITIONS."

The program was established to help veterans decompress from their military service through long-distance travel in the outdoors. Founder Sean Gobin began the program after returning from active duty and hiking all 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail. He recognized the therapeutic effects of long treks and created the "Walk Off The War" Program. Veterans who participate experience their journeys with the camaraderie of other veterans who understand the challenges of adjusting from military service to civilian life. WARRIOR HIKE also helps veterans find employment after their tours of duty.

Upon hearing about the mission to send servicemen and women on a voyage down the Mississippi, Old Town immediately got involved and donated the paddling equipment the veterans needed. The sponsorship includes four each of the following: Old Town NEXT Canoes, Carlisle Day Tripper Paddles, Extrasport Striper Life Jackets, and Canoe Carts.

Luke LaBree, Marketing Communications Manager for Old Town noted, "The NEXT is an ideal model for the veterans' Mississippi trip. It's a lightweight, solo canoe/kayak crossover that paddles with kayaking ease and also holds a lot of gear. Old Town is thrilled to be a part of their adventure as a donating sponsor, as we are so grateful for their service to our country."

Old Town has committed to participating in future paddling expeditions as a donating sponsor. Visit http://warriorhike.org/expeditions/mississippi-river/ for more details about this trip and www.warriorhike.org for general information.