“Any type of sport you can adapt for a wounded veteran is a life-changing experience. The thing is, when you come back from active duty and come back into civilian life after being wounded, your purpose kind of fades off. You’re not in a good place. But what adaptive sports does, is it gives you a new meaning, new purpose, new beginning, so that’s a big, big tool for re-integration to civilian life and just going out in the world.”
- Helman Roman, Freedom Rows’ Rower and 2016 Paralympian (Hear Helman's story)
Help Support Our Disabled Military Vets!
Since 2014, USRowing has been supporting our disabled military vets through our award-winning Freedom Rows program. The program has provided more than 4,000 disabled veterans and members of the armed services with the opportunity to experience the benefits of the sport of rowing - and it's changing their lives!
What started as a pilot program in seven cities has grown into an initiative that provides support and funding for more than 30 programs across the United States.
Our veterans experience the full range of opportunities to be gained from rowing, whether recreationally at their VA sports facility or local club or competing in the Paralympics.
The primary goals of the program include:
- Increasing the number of disabled military veterans participating and competing in adaptive and para rowing;
- Providing expert training and technical assistance in adaptive rowing to VA adaptive sports program managers, community rowing coaches and instructors, and VA recreational therapists; and
- Providing outreach coordination, Paralympic classification of athletes, FISA-certified training of classifiers, adaptive rowing program development, adaptive rowing equipment, evaluation and other activities related to the implementation and operation of the program.
In September of 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded USRowing with its fifth grant through its Grants for Adaptive Sports Programs for Disabled Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces, increasing USRowing's funding in recognition of the work being done in the Freedom Rows programs across the country to support our disabled military vets.
“For me, it was a therapeutic experience,” said Paul Massella, one of many veterans who have taken part in the program at the Delta Sculling Center in Stockton, Calif. "Being out on the water was just so freeing from the confines of my mind. This program is very full of love and compassion. Pat (Tirone) has a heart for sculling, and she uses it as a vehicle to heal and help strengthen people in the community. She’s kind of like a mentor to me.”
Why We're Raising Funds
While the VA's support is incredible, we have the chance to change more disabled military veterans' lives with increased resources including more coaching stipends, additional equipment and additional travel funding.
Money raised during this rally will be used to:
- Provide additional equipment to be used by more disabled military vets;
- Provide additional coaching support for our disabled military vets;
- Provide travel funding for disabled military vets to compete at events such as the 2019 Head of the Charles, 2019 Bayada Regatta, 2020 USRowing Indoor National Championships, 2020 San Diego Crew Classic (click here for an article on the 2019 event), and additional race opportunities;
- Increase the number of outreach events to introduce the sport and provide expert instruction to a greater number of disabled military veterans; and
- Develop Freedom Rows programs in additional cities and VA hospitals.
In addition to the 30+ Freedom Rows programs, USRowing also conducts outreach efforts at other VA hospitals and through the Valor Games, Warrior Games, Invictus Games, Wounded Warrior events, and other disabled sports events throughout the country.
Join Our Team and Spread the Word!
Please chip in whatever you can to support those who have given so much to our country. Your donation will have a direct benefit towards the success of our programs, and through that, the well-being of our disabled military veterans.
USRowing and Freedom Rows
Select A Support Level
$25Changing Lives!Our deepest thanks for your support. You are making a difference!
$50Freedom Fan PackYou'll receive a Freedom Rows pin and sticker to show off your support!
$150Roll of HonorMake a donation in honor of a loved one and see them memorialized on our website!
$250Super Fan PackageReceive a Freedom Rows visor and sticker. Great for wearing and accessorizing!
$1,500Über Awesome Fan PackageFreedom Rows sticker, pin, visor and honor roll memorial on the web, plus a 4 digit LIFETIME USRowing membership you can donate to anyone you want!