Boating Saves Lives for Wounded Warriors

Boating saves lives for Wounded Warriors, veterans, who have been disabled or have PTSD according to the new Project Odyssey program. Project Odyssey is a "Wounded Warrior" project program to help veterans with PTSD overcome the stress they experienced in combat by connecting with nature, peers and trained professionals. PTSD can effect every area of a veterans life. Many retreat to the safety of their home unwilling to see friends, family or venture out. They usually suffer insomnia are unable to process the emotions they have had to keep bottled up inside for so long. Basically, they struggle to cope. Some even retreat to drinking heavily to try and forget their traumatic experiences.

Project Odyssey asks its veterans to find something they love. One such veteran, Loyd Sawyer, recalls choosing  boating as his passion. As he began to restore an old skiff he began meeting people in the community, neighbors and also engaging other boating fanatics. He even named his first boat "Therapy" for its maiden voyage. Loyd soon met Otis, an old Korean War vet, who recognized the boat hull from his youth spent on the same island where Lloyd was. So, Lloyd invited the old vet on a fishing trip after he completed the restoration of the boat. From that simple trip the ideal for Challenge Outdoors was created. This was to be Loyd's first charity and it was for other vets . He wanted Challenge Outdoors to engage veterans and the disabled in boating and pontooning.

He started the charity by inviting other vets to go out in "Therapy" on the open water, as a way to engage them. He remembers how hard it was for him to join the "Wounded Warrior" program. The most difficult part of getting someone started in healing is breaking through their personal walls to get to them. The serenity and peace boating offers made that breakthrough easier for Loyd and he now offers that to others. There were many obstacles to overcome such as wheelchair and fully disabled vets onto "Therapy" but he realized how important it was. He knew he would have to upgrade the boat or scale back the charity. Loyd decided he needed a pontoon boat for them. Over the course of the next two years he was able to secure one with the handicap features necessary.

Now Lloyd is helping other veterans and enjoys watching their resilience. He speaks often about his PTSD and how he overcame through boating, as well as helping others. Loyd says he wants others to know you don't have to live with PTSD and that they are not alone. Loyd hopes everyone can enjoy the therapeutic nature and boating and being outdoors.

Here is a link for further information on the program: Project Odyssey