Wounded warriors and veterans in West Virginia are healing through water sports.
Team River Runner is a national veteran’s organization. They invite wounded and disabled war veterans and their families to participate in various paddling activities, like kayaking and rafting.
Team River Runner’s social media director, Roy Bovee, said being on the river has social, physical, and emotional benefits. Boyee said most importantly, it is a way for veterans to embrace new challenges and promote camaraderie.
“In the military we had battle buddies, you were always there for your battle buddy,” Bovee said. “No matter where they went, you followed them. No matter where you went, they followed you, and if they fell you helped them back up…and that’s what we’re doing out here with team river runners.”
Volunteers said combat veterans sometimes struggle to transition from being at the tip of the spear to life at home. Beckley chapter coordinator, Brian Sullivan, said Team River Runner encourages veterans to get involved and make connections.
“A lot of them have P.T.S.D. or things that they are dealing with emotionally, so they come out and it’s a way of getting them out,” said Sullivan. “Because a lot of times they want to retract from society and we’re trying to get them back into society.”
The group has grown rapidly since they started in Beckley just months ago. They are always welcoming new veterans and volunteers to join then on the river to recovery.
Veterans interested in joining Team River Runner can reach out to the group on Facebook, or on their website.
People can also donate money or used river equipment to the group by contacting Brian Sullivan at 304-651-6481.