Freedom Rows Gave Me a Place to Belong
By USRowing Staff • December 10, 2018
Hello, my name is Darlene Morgan, and I am a veteran who served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy during the Vietnam era. I came to Stockton, California, about five years ago after having retired, and about three years ago, a counselor suggested to me that I talk with the VA recreational therapist, which I did.
I really didn’t think any of the programs would work for me, including rowing. Before my move when I was in Denver, I saw folks taking these boats out on Sloan Lake and thought how very cool that must be, but I could never afford to try this on my own.
Delta Sculling Center is absolutely amazing. I don’t believe there’s anything the club wouldn’t do for their veterans and/or adaptive athletes to make us feel normal and to help us be accomplished. When the real world becomes overpowering, the water offers solace to many of us.
Pat Tirone, Delta’s coach, and all the amazing volunteers are absolutely phenomenal. Not only do they give day after day, but week after week and year after year! They are an amazing group, so dedicated to helping us adapt and be professional in a scull, even more to help us find peace. They are a family that cares deeply for our well-being.
When first coming into Delta Sculling Center, I thought I’d only be a part of the club for a few weeks and then cycled out, such to reach as many as possible. I could not have been more wrong. I never thought that I could race, and yet, I have many times. When I lose, they cheer me on like I have won. They work hard to make equipment work for every need.
Equipment is such a precious commodity, and it is expensive. If they don’t have the means, they do everything possible to make do with what we have. You cannot imagine how a program and people like this can help to soothe a weary soul.
We are all proud of our accomplishments; we are darn proud of our team! Without Freedom Rows and Delta Sculling Center, I would’ve never known what it means to row. I would never have realized my passion. I would never have regained trust. The value this program has is absolutely insurmountable. I speak from my experiences. I speak from my heart.
– Darlene J. Morgan
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