There are over 20 million Veterans in America – more than any other country in the world.
In 2017, our Founder, Kevin Klepac, took a Soldier out fishing, just to get away from work and have some fun. At the end of the trip, the young Soldier thanked Kevin and explained he had planned to commit suicide that very evening, but being out on the water fishing and talking with a friend that day gave him a new outlook on life.
Sadly, Kevin knew this story all too well; he has struggled to deal with his own demons from years of Combat deployment and knows many comrades who felt the same. Post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety all take a heavy toll on former service members. Almost 13.5% of vets suffer from PTSD alone. The government allocates billions of dollars to mental health services for veterans, but service members are often uncomfortable seeking out formal treatment methods.
Kevin knew fishing trips and the healing powers of being outdoors with comrades could help others just as he did that young Solider. And so, Wounded Waters was born.
Today, Wounded Waters offers free, single and multi-day fishing trips for small groups of Service Members and First Responders in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana.
At Wounded Waters, we understand the issues and struggles Veterans deal with every day, because we have been there ourselves. Too many of our Veterans and Service Personnel are feeling anxious, depressed, stressed and alone. Some are even at a high risk of suicide, a tragedy which we strive to prevent.
Wounded Waters is breaking down the barriers around Service men and women by offering outdoor outlets for their stress on group fishing trips. Our goal is to let these warriors know they are not alone and offer a helping hand out of the darkness they may be struggling with.
We believe the power of friendship, a boat, and some good fish stories can literally help save lives.
The bond between our staff and participants creates a feeling of trust and mutual respect that helps Service Members open up about their current struggles. The shared emotions of catching (or not catching!) a fish together grounds our group fishing trips in feelings of empathy and fellowship.
Even the simple act of spending time in a new outdoor setting helps many of our participants clear their minds and improve their spirits. These trips are more than an outdoor recreational experience- they build relationships, community and comradery among our participants.
Right now, we need your help to keep running our Veteran fishing trips.
Until now, we've survived off generous donations from our community, Board Members and Founders. The Pandemic is taking an unprecedented toll on the mental health of all Americans and we have more and more Vets that need our help.
Our Service Members and First Repsonders are under more job related stress than ever, and they are also increasingly alone and isolated by the new reality of our "Quarantine" society. Now, more than ever, we need to get our Service Members out on the water to help them relieve stress and get away from the worries of every day life.
But we need your help to keep going!
Each trip costs as little as $500 and can help 5-10 Service Members begin to heal.
100% of the funds we raise will go to direct costs of our fishing trips; bait, tackle, boat upkeep, fuel and lunch for our Vets. Please consider giving to our cause, no amount is too small!
The WW Team