By Jen Maxwell, Julie Wright-Carlson, BG Smith.
Photo credits Team River Runner.
Team River Runner Chattanooga is TVCC’s single largest beneficiary. TVCC provides direct funding to the Ocoee Race team to support the operational planning and execution of the race. In addition, TVCC provides the majority of the volunteer workforce, “troops on the ground” so to speak to use an appropriate military term. This includes lots of administrative support, operational safety support and event planning. Finally, TVCC provides a grant donation to TRR Chattanooga matching the first $1000 of After Party proceeds. Combined, these contributions indicate the TVCC Board’s commitment to TRR. So what is Team River Runner all about?
Team River Runner believes that every wounded and disabled veteran deserves the opportunity to embrace new challenges, invoke leadership, and promote camaraderie. TRR provides an outlet to fulfill these beliefs – inviting wounded and disabled war veterans and their families to participate in adaptive paddling programs. TRR was founded in 2004 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, DC. There are now 45 locations across the nation, and 3 in Tennessee in Chattanooga, Nashville, and Johnson City. Nearby, chapters are located in Atlanta, Asheville, Birmingham, and Fort Campbell, KY. The American Canoe Association provides guidance and training for paddlers and instructors assisting with adaptive paddling skills.
Putting our veterans are on the river to recovery
TRR’s motto is to put wounded and disabled vets on the “river to recovery.” Since March 2003, military operations in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and other locations have caused close to 50,000 wounded U.S. troops to return home to uncertain futures and suffering a range of social, physical, and emotional issues according to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
TRR provides hope and healing to those who have risked so much, yet asked for so little. It provides an opportunity to those who participate to take on new challenges, escape the routine recovery processes, and enjoy an environment that facilitates connection to their fellow veterans who have endured similar pain in the beautiful confines of mother nature. It is a perfect recipe for healing — whitewater and adventure kayaking offer an exciting way to improve their health, strength, and connection with nature.
If you know a veteran please encourage them to participate. They can participate or volunteer to support others in the program. TRR Chattanooga provides equipment and instructors to help participants get on the river. Both flatwater and whitewater opportunities are available. Winter whitewater roll practice sessions are beginning soon. There are no costs to join and participate in this great program.
TRR Chattanooga Contacts
TRR Chatt Whitewater Program Manager