Video of our October 2012 wounded-veteran sailing clinic at South Beach Pier 40 in San Francisco.
In addition to sailing, surfing, cruising and having a good time, I have found something incredibly fulfilling in teaching wounded veterans to sail. Sailing is a sport which is accessible to anyone; a sport which truly does not care if you have arms or legs. Many of our nation’s wounded service members have suffered great amounts of adversity, leaving them in situations which are truly difficult to cope with. It is because of this that veterans suffer from depression, alcohol and drug abuse and homelessness at an astoundingly high rate. The true aim of this clinic is to inspire these heroic men and women to once again achieve the extraordinary and lead happy, fulfilling lives. Sailing is the tool that we use.
As a wounded Iraq war veteran and passionate sailor, I am honored to be have been able to work with Hope for the Warriors® and BAADS (the Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors) to conduct two sailing clinics per year (2012 and 2013) to teach combat-wounded veterans to sail.
Here are a couple of articles that recap our first clinic:
These clinics, and the that have followed, are amazing opportunities to re-inspire these heroes that have made great sacrifices in defense of our nation. Introducing these men and women to the sport of sailing serves as a powerful tool to show them that their newfound challenges are not limiting factors and that they are capable of living full, enriching lives. Wounded service members are a group of people that are capable of achieving amazing things. All they need is inspiration. Give a wounded Marine a sailboat and the sky is the limit. I am proof of this.
Beautiful sunset cruise on San Francisco Bay during clinic #1- April 2012
These clinics are expensive, and our cause is funded entirely by donations. Hope for the Warriors® is a 501c3 non-profit which has earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and boasts an 89% fiscal efficiency rate.
If you are interested in supporting this program, please contact me.
This program has been a collaborative effort between myself, my best friend and Army vet Walter Kotecki and fatherly figure/ Vietnam vet Don Gray. In addition to thanking Hope for the Warriors and BAADS for their support, I would like to thank sevearl other parties. Our largest supporters have been the St. Francis Commander of the Order of St. John, Knights Hospitallir and the Cromar Charitable Foundation. A million thanks to Drew Harper and Garrett Greenhalgh of Spinnaker Sailing in San Francisco, Nicole Cronin and Lela Burrows of "The Pad" yoga studios, Jered Nelson and "Jered's Pottery", the members of "the Horrible String Band", Steissy Nissen and all of the wonderful volunteers, supporters and fellow veterans that have allowed this program to grow.