On April 6, 2009, 38 year-old Dan Cook, Executive Director of Rivers of Recovery, launched his 17.2-foot dory from Three Forks, Montana and began rowing down the Missouri River heading towards the Gulf of Mexico. Rivers of Recovery is a not-for-profit organization which provides recreational rehabilitation trips to disabled veterans and their families. Cook’s current rowing expedition, also known as the “Heart of America Campaign,” is a solo rowing trip that will cover more than 3,700 miles to raise awareness and funding for disabled veterans.
Yesterday, after rowing 1,589 of those miles, Cook made a stop in Siouxland. When Chamber President Debi Durham learned that he would be stopping in Siouxland she immediately pledged support, including offering him a hotel room, which he politely declined. “We want to support Dan and his cause in any way that we can,” Durham said.
Cook spent part of his day at the Chamber offices where he discussed his trip, and explained why programs for disabled veterans are needed even after they check out of the VA hospital. “Recovery doesn’t end when they are discharged from the VA hospital. These veterans made a commitment to us while they served their time, and now we have a commitment to help them rehabilitate,” Cook stated.
Cook said that weather has been his biggest challenge so far. “My only concern was cold weather, and keeping adequate warmth,” Cook said. “Head winds on major reservoirs have also been difficult.” Despite the many difficulties, Cook said that getting attention for disabled veterans is worth the challenge. Cook’s journey will proceed down the Missouri River to the Mississippi River and end at the Gulf of Mexico on approximately June 30, 2009. He will then return to Utah to work directly with veterans and his Rivers of Recovery program through the end of September.
For more information and to follow Dan’s expedition online, please visit http://www.riversofrecovery.org/hoa.
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