Can you imagine the bittersweet emotion warriors feel after returning home from deployment? The joy of seeing their child for the first time, and knowing that child does not recognize them? Reconnecting with a spouse while struggling with reintegrating into civilian life? The pressure to “return to normal” while battling symptoms of post-traumatic stress? It can be an overwhelming task for veterans and their families.
Heroes on the Water was created to help address the overwhelm and provide a way for veterans to relax, reintegrate and rehabilitate using therapeutic kayak fishing and the outdoors. We are one of the few veterans’ charities that includes families in our treatment experiences. Whether that is spouses, partners, children, therapy dogs, caretakers, or a favorite uncle, we provide our services to families to include them in the process of healing. Our initiative, Reunify Family, is focused on increasing the number of family members who participate in our therapeutic kayak fishing experiences and events, so we can extend the healing power to those experiencing post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury symptoms and those closest to them. Not only is it critical to the success of the veteran, but it is also important that the family heal from the impact of combat related PTSD.
Children of veterans with combat related PTSD often experience what is called secondary PTSD. While the children did not experience the war-related event, they are impacted by their parents’ post-traumatic stress and take on many of the symptoms. The transmission of combat PTSD from parent to child is also known as intergenerational transmission of trauma. Reunify Family is focused on providing a non-traditional form of therapy through kayak fishing and the outdoors for the entire family to help overcome these challenges. Studies have proven that kayak fishing and outdoor recreational therapy are able to alleviate PTSD and TBI symptoms, provide an environment that promotes healing and allow for non-stressful communication.
A unified community can change lives. By participating in North Texas Giving Day, your generosity will help a family heal while improving the lives of our veteran community. To donate to Heroes on the Water on September 20th, please click here. To find out more about North Texas Giving Day, please visit www.NorthTexasGivingDay.org.
By Laura Armbruster, Heroes on the Water volunteer
* Photo provided by Heroes on the Water
In nine years, Communities Foundation of Texas‘ North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $195 million into the North Texas community. In 2017, $39 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.
On Thursday, September 20, support Heroes on the Water by linking here and spreading the word. #NTxGivingDay