Help Support Our Disabled Military Vets!
By USRowing Staff • July 3, 2019
Since 2014, USRowing has been supporting our disabled military vets through our award-winning Freedom Rows program. The program has provided more than 4,000 disabled veterans and members of the armed services with the opportunity to experience the benefits of the sport of rowing – and it’s changing their lives!
What started as a pilot program in seven cities has grown into an initiative that provides support and funding for more than 30 programs across the United States.
Our veterans experience the full range of opportunities to be gained from rowing, whether recreationally at their VA sports facility or local club or competing in the Paralympics.
The primary goals of the program include:
- Increasing the number of disabled military veterans participating and competing in adaptive and para rowing;
- Providing expert training and technical assistance in adaptive rowing to VA adaptive sports program managers, community rowing coaches and instructors, and VA recreational therapists; and
- Providing outreach coordination, Paralympic classification of athletes, FISA-certified training of classifiers, adaptive rowing program development, adaptive rowing equipment, evaluation and other activities related to the implementation and operation of the program.
“For me, it was a therapeutic experience,” said Paul Massella, one of many veterans who have taken part in the program at the Delta Sculling Center in Stockton, Calif. “Being out on the water was just so freeing from the confines of my mind. This program is very full of love and compassion. Pat (Tirone) has a heart for sculling, and she uses it as a vehicle to heal and help strengthen people in the community. She’s kind of like a mentor to me.”
While the VA’s support is incredible, we have the chance to change more disabled military veterans’ lives with increased resources including more coaching stipends, additional equipment and additional travel funding.
Money raised during this rally will be used to:
- Provide additional equipment to be used by more disabled military vets;
- Provide additional coaching support for our disabled military vets;
- Provide travel funding for disabled military vets to compete at events such as the 2019 Head of the Charles, 2019 Bayada Regatta, 2020 USRowing Indoor National Championships, 2020 San Diego Crew Classic (click here for an article on the 2019 event), and additional race opportunities;
- Increase the number of outreach events to introduce the sport and provide expert instruction to a greater number of disabled military veterans; and
- Develop Freedom Rows programs in additional cities and VA hospitals.
In addition to the 30+ Freedom Rows programs, USRowing also conducts outreach efforts at other VA hospitals and through the Valor Games, Warrior Games, Invictus Games, Wounded Warrior events, and other disabled sports events throughout the country.
Please chip in whatever you can to support those who have given so much to our country. Your donation will have a direct benefit towards the success of our programs, and through that, the well-being of our disabled military veterans.