Monday, May 21, 2012
In the company of heroes.......
Heroes On the Water and the multitudes of service members returning from their service to our country.
While the social aspect of these tournaments is an added bonus, it further exemplifies how simplistic the concept truly is yet how profound the impact can be. HOW tournaments and events are centered around pairing up experienced kayak anglers with service members who are interested in getting out on the water and empowering themselves with the strength and fortitude known only by a select few, such as our military personnel. While these heroes may have their own respective limitations, it does not in any way reflect upon their inner strength to conquer the challenges they face on a daily basis. I find no greater joy than seeing a wounded warrior overcome their initial trepidation upon first entry into the kayak and the accompanying sense of instability as they paddle away from the launch. Those challenges and inner doubts are quickly overcome, and you find yourself put at ease as you see the calmness and inner strength shine through on their respective countenances as they paddle away with a new found confidence and determination.
After returning to the launch, we all gathered for a quick box lunch provided by one of the local businesses and some more socialization and reflection upon the outing on the water we had all shared in. Some of the heroes spoke of "the one that got away", while others reflected upon how much enjoyment they had. The hero paired with me told me numerous times on the water how much of a relief it was just to get out and do something versus sitting in the same room each day. Sometimes I think the monotony of these heroes' daily lives is a contributing symptom of their daily challenges. Hopefully, the bi-weekly HOW events with the Central VA HOW Chapter will help fight off those maladies.
As the heroes were loaded into their vehicle, I found myself longing for the next outing and already mentally checking my calendar to see if my son would be free. I hope he is, because days like this are ones that I hope he will be able to hold onto as he ages and matures. These are the days that will mold and shape the child that will one day grow into a man. Upon that day, he too will realize that it is truly an honor just to be in the company of heroes.