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'They need a chance to get out': Perry group helps get abled and disabled veterans on the water

The local chapter of Team River Runner provides kayaks free of charge to veterans and their families

PERRY, Ga. — One Perry group is working to get abled and disabled veterans out on the water.

Team River Runner is a national organization that encourages veterans to get outdoors. On Memorial Day, the newly formed Perry chapter did just that.  

For veterans like Trish Ross, this holiday is difficult.

"For many years I was a casualty officer as well as a commander who told too many families that their loved one had died."

But she says being on the water brings her peace.

"For those of us that are left behind, it means a lot to come out here with other veterans to remember those that we lost," says Ross.

Pat Miller, an Army and Air Force Veteran, helped start the Perry chapter of Team River Runner.

They rent kayaks free of charge to veterans and their families to help them unwind and heal.

"Like with Memorial Day, they've lost fellow veterans. They witnessed it and they're hurting and they need a chance to get out, to enjoy nature, to get all the benefits from it," says Miller.

She says soon they'll be equipped to get disabled veterans in their kayaks.

"We are working on being trained to be able to take any disabled veteran. amputees, blind veterans."

It's not just the veterans that are welcome. It's also Gold Star families and caretakers.

Shea Wilkinson says she heard about the group a couple weeks ago and wanted to get involved with her husband who retired from the military.

"I just think that anything we can do to get our veterans active, especially our disabled veterans, to get them active and outdoors and doing things, I think it's a great opportunity."

Miller says once they get more training, they want to head out on a white water adventure.

She says this is a way to say thank you to her fellow service men and women.

"Are you living the life that you need to live that will say thank you to our veterans that gave their all for us?" she says. "This is part of it. Getting out and helping other people. That's the main thing you've gotta do. You've got to help others."

If you want to get involved with Team River Runner, you can check their Facebook page for scheduled events or visit their website.

They also have Georgia chapters in Atlanta and Fort Benning.