FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A group of veterans went on a float trip down the Lynches River over the weekend, courtesy of the South Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of the nonprofit group Heroes on the Water.
“Its original start was to help wounded veterans get out there to heal,” Greg Bartle, the chapter’s secretary said. “Its motto is ‘paddlefish heal.’”
Since its founding, the organization has expanded to include first responders as well.
“You’re always paired up with somebody with more experience,” U.S. Army veteran Bob Sharpe said. “It makes you feel more comfortable being out on the water.”
The chapter usually conducts the outings once a month. Most of the time, the events are day trips. However, this weekend’s trip including overnight camping.
“It’s fun,” Heroes on the Water volunteer Will Roy said. “I get to go fishing, I get to go to lots of different places and I get to help these veterans out.”
The group cooked up breakfast then loaded its boats into the river.
“Whether you catch a fish or not is irrelevant. It’s camaraderie,” Sharpe said. “Doing what you love to do and being with people you enjoy being with.”
Bartle, who served in the U.S. Air Force, said this is his way of giving back to others who have served.
“They forget about everything else that’s going on in their life for that day,” Bartle said. “And that’s the best part about it.”
The South Carolina Lowcountry chapter was founded in 2015.