Ignacio welcomes TRR – free kayaking for veterans and their families

TRR provides free kayaking trips to active duty military, veterans, their families and caregivers. Every experience level is welcome to discover health and healing through TRR paddle sports.
The River Runners

Ignacio is home to the Four Corners Chapter Coordinator of Team River Runner (TRR). TRR provides free kayaking trips to active duty military, veterans, their families and caregivers. TRR welcomes both able-bodied and disabled warriors, providing specialized adaptive paddling equipment to ensure our wounded warriors enjoy access to the water and paddling. Every experience level is welcome to discover health and healing through TRR paddle sports. 

Covid restrictions permitting, Four Corners NM TRR will begin offering weekly kayaking trips on local waters this summer. You can check out their calendar of events on Facebook or by visiting their website, www.teamriverrunner.org/new-mexico. 

Currently, TRR is accepting application from Native Veterans interested in an all-expense paid weeklong paddling/camping trip in California’s Sierra Nevada this August for their annual BIPOC Clinic. Interested veterans should contact Carmen Skarlupka, Chapter Coordinator, at 970-880-1257 or  carmen.skarlupka@teamriverrunner.org. 

All of TRR events are offered at no-cost to Veterans and their families consisting of weekly kayaking, canoeing, rafting and stand up paddle boarding (SUP) trips on local waterways. Whitewater paddling day trips on the Animas and San Juan Rivers. Calm kayaking day trips on the Navajo, Nighthorse and Vallecito Lakes. Additionally, TRR hosts week-long all expenses paid Veterans-only clinics and affinity trips for women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People of Color), Outtasight (vision impaired), and National Kayak Football League. 

Both of TRR’s Chapter Co-Coordinators, Jessica Piercy and Carmen Skarlupka, are disabled female veterans. Carmen, a Navy Veteran, lives in Ignacio and is a life-long kayaker. Jessica, a 100% Disabled Army Veteran, lives in Aztec, N.M. The two Veterans met in 2016 and decided to start a local TRR Chapter to help veterans like Jessica, safely recover following knee surgery in 2020. Piercy says, “I am walking testimony of the healing that comes from paddling and, I want to give the same opportunities to other people.” 

We know Water is Life, and so does the Veterans Administration (VA)! The VA’s Outdoor Recreational Therapy program endorses TRR paddle sports as a way for Veterans to heal and recover from traumas. Outdoor Recreation Therapy is recommended to treat physical, psychological, social, emotional, behavioral and spiritual traumas including post-traumatic stress disorder and military sexual trauma. 

If you are interested in supporting TRR’s mission, they welcome all non-veteran and veteran volunteer guides, accept gently used donations of kayaks, canoes, rafts, SUPs and paddling equipment. TRR also accepts donations through their website’s Donate page under Chapter/Clinic and choosing New Mexico Four Corners. 

Established in 2004, TRR is an all-volunteer veteran run 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that encourages veteran’s participation in paddle sports. With over 50 Chapters across the US, TRR helps wounded warriors and their families find healing, health and wellness on the water. 

If you are a Veteran, or know a veteran, sign up to paddle with TRR and join our Warriors on the River to Recovery! Paddle safe and we hope to see you out on the water, soon. 

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