Kayak fishing serves as therapy for veterans

Posted at 10:28 AM, Mar 11, 2017
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:19:48-04

Paddle. Fish. Heal. That's the motto of the nation-wide organization, Heroes on the Water. 

Heroes on the Water - Fort Hood Chapter hosted its third kayak fishing event Saturday at Lake Belton.

"Ten years I struggled internally with my post traumatic stress disorder, and it was beating me up to the point where my marriage ended, I almost lost my kids, I lost my career, basically my life as you know it was over," Juanita Redeaux, a U.S. Army veteran, said.

After years of combat, it is common for soldiers to develop PTSD. And even though there is no cure, there are organizations -- like Heroes on the Water -- to help soldiers and veterans relax.

"A lot of these people have sacrificed so much. You know they didn't, they didn't ask to have the trauma or stress syndrome, but they've sacrificed and this is a way we as a community, and especially we as veterans can help other veterans," Rick Irving, a veteran and Leadership Team Member for Heroes on the Water - Fort Hood Chapter, said.

 Heroes on the Water believes fishing on kayaks provides active-duty soldiers and veterans a way to calm the storm within themselves.

"The best word to describe it for me would be therapeutic," Redeaux added. "Your inhibitions, all of the stress, and whatever you got going on in your life at that current moment and the past of course as if it doesn't exist when you're out here."

These fishing events are open to all heroes who have served in any branch of the armed services.

"This just gets us all on the same team. We all have a goal, and that's to help our fellow G.I.s," Woody Durbin, a U.S. Army and Air Force veteran, said.

The Fort Hood Chapter of Heroes on the Water holds kayak fishing events about four times each year. The next one will be in June.

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