A new chapter of Team River Runner has been formed in Augusta, GA.  Endless RiverAdventures (ERA) has committed to sponsoring the newly formed chapter with equipment procurement and hands-on training for volunteer staff and participating vets.

Team River Runner (TRR), was established in August 2004 by kayakers in theWashington, DC, area. It is an all-volunteer organization run by a council of kayakers and overseen by a board of directors. Working in partnership with The Wounded Warrior Project and Disabled Sports USA, TRR helps veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) find health, healing, and new challenges through whitewater boating on the Potomac River. While the focus of TRR’s work is on soldiers recuperating at WRAMC, TRR also provides whitewater boating opportunities for family members as well as for other wounded veterans.

The program has spread to military and Veterans Affairs hospitals in San Antonio, Boston,Seattle and in California. Acquiring kayaks and getting into the program had been on a “wish list” for a couple of years at the Augusta Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, said Doug Mitchell, a therapy manager for the Active Duty Rehabilitation Unit.

Endless River Adventures was notified of the new chapter by Team ERA staff member Sara Cermenaro, who volunteered to paddle with the new chapter while visiting her hometown of Augusta.  She returned to ERA very fired up about her experience, as well as addressing the need to find support for the newly formed chapter.  “As soon as Sara talked about the experience she had with the vets and the volunteers who are working so hard, I knew we had a cause well worth supporting,” related Juliet Jacobsen Kastorff of Endless River Adventures, “kayaking is such a healing sport—from just being on the water, to challenging yourself, to confronting your apprehensions; and I cannot think of a better group to put in kayaks than vets recently returned from fighting overseas.”

ERA has already provided miscellaneous outfitting for the chapter. And through the cooperation of Spencer Cooke, has acquired a collection of Smiley nose plugs for the chapter (one of the needs pointed out by Cermenaro). Next step will be working with the volunteer staff for some hands-on instruction training and additional equipment procurement.

For more information on the Team River Runner Organization, contacthttp://www.teamriverrunner.org.  For more information on the Augusta Chapter of Team River Runner, contact Eric Gray at Eric.Gray@va.gov. And for more information on how to donate support, contact Juliet Jacobsen Kastorff at erajuliet@cs.com or 828-488-6199.