Four US veterans are rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to raise awareness for PTSD and veteran suicide, as well as to raise money to help combat these mental health challenges. Hailing from Fernandina Beach, Florida, the team are members of Foar From Home: a support group that have so far raised over $727,000 to help veterans experiencing PTSD, cognitive disorders, identity issues, and homelessness. The sailing group is making this voyage as part of the wider Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, a global charitable fundraiser also called “The World’s Toughest Row.”
The group — composed of Cameron Hansen (Air Force), Paul Lore (Marines), Billy Cimino (Army), and A.M. ‘Hupp’ Huppman (Navy) — kicked off their adventure on December 12th in La Gomera, one of Spain’s Canary Islands. As of January 10th, the team have logged 29 days on the ocean with over 1,600 nautical miles rowed and 1,240 nautical miles remaining. They plan to reach the shores of Antigua by the end of January. “We really can’t thank the community enough for their donations that have now exceeded $500,000 and to the rowing coaches at Jacksonville University who have spent months training four middle-aged men who have never rowed before,” said Hansen.
Support for veterans
Around 11-20 in every 100 veterans has PTSD, which is also considered a risk factor for homelessness. Fortunately, housing support in the form of VA loans is available for veterans transitioning to civilian life. Thanks to the 0% down payment, VA loans make it easier for veterans to purchase their own home after leaving the military. By researching how to apply for a VA home loan, veterans can check they’re eligible and start getting their VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility — the first step toward acquiring a VA loan.
A vital cause
To further help veterans, Foar From Home is primarily raising money for K9s for Warriors: the country’s biggest provider of veteran service dogs. These dogs are specially trained to help veterans with PTSD and service-connected traumas. Dogs that don’t pass the training program may alternatively go into the K9FW Station Dog Program, which helps police, first responsders, and dispatch offers with menal health issues. “As veterans, we know all too well how many service members often struggle with a variety of issues including cognitive mental health issues such as PTSD, reintegration into their communities or families, identity issues, thoughts of suicide or financial issues,” said Huppman. “We hope our fundraising efforts and awareness will help some of those brave men and women who have fought so hard for this country.”
“We originally took on this challenge to change the lives of a few veterans,” said Lore. “Instead, with the support of a loving, grassroots community, we are now building a mega-kennel at K9s For Warriors that will train warrior dogs for our veterans. We have been blessed to impact our veteran community in this way — all while this ocean crossing has reshaped our character, our hearts and our grace,” he added.
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