The island community of St. John comes out in force each year to support Team River Runner’s (TRR) Wounded Veterans USVI program. Dozens of teams take part in the annual St. John Chaotic Kayak race, a day of live music, beer tents, food, raffle prizes and of course, kayak races!
100% of the proceeds are used to bring wounded veterans and their spouses down island every November for one week of healing in the beautiful waters of St. John
Team River Runner (TRR) was founded at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2004 by Washington, D.C. area kayak enthusiast Joe Mornini who has been hosting trips for TRR members to St. John since 2007. While the group was forced to cancel its 2008 trip due to lack of funds, that will never be the case again with the continual support of the St John community.
Team River Runner (TRR), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, gives active duty service members and veterans an opportunity to find health, healing, and new challenges through whitewater boating and other paddling sports.
The benefits of TRR have as much to do with creating a social network and support system as they do with learning water sports skills that provide an exciting adventure lifestyle that suddenly seemed lost due to injury. The program also encourages family members to participate whenever possible.
TRR accomplishes its goals through a step-by-step approach in which paddlers learn to control a kayak in a pool, and then move to open water: rivers, lakes and oceans, where they gain additional experience and skills. Once they have mastered the basics, local chapters take participants on paddling trips to challenge and improve skills. TRR also organizes trips to more progressively challenging venues in Colorado, Montana, Florida, USVI and Mexico. Leadership training is provided so that wounded warriors can take their growing adventure skills home to share with veterans in their community.
TRR has Local Chapters across the country and all donations are fully deductible.
Photos taken by Yelena Rogers