Paddlers and kayakers hit the water to aid local vets
For six years now, Operation Second Chance has been raising funds and volunteering to help out wounded vets in need.
Locally, they have 39 families, that representing close to 100 individuals. All on the Delmarva peninsula.
Sunday marked the seventh Paddle Second Chance, the largest paddle race on Delmarva. An impressive $50,000 has been raised this year, bringing their six-year total to nearly $200,000. Ninety percent of which will go towards helping local wounded warriors.
"We've created an environment where this is really safe," said Walt Ellenderger, chairman of Operation Second Chance, Delmar chapter. "And they can come out, they can relax, enjoy themselves. Often times it's a way to kind of get glued back in with their family. That may not seem a lot to us but it's a huge gap that we fill for them."
And veterans on hand describe how the organization has helped them in their post-military days. Helping with everything from Emergency assistance to financial, emotional and social support.
"They get us out of the house, they get us on different trips and retreats to help us any type of wounded warrior and their care giver opportunity to get away and kind of rehab," said Harry Bologna, a 22-year Navy veteran.
One of the most important things for these returning heroes is the social interaction these events provide.
"Sometimes we put together events such as this where some of the warriors can get out and be part of society again," said Ellenderger.
Operation Second Chance is a volunteer-driven effort, and we're told they are always looking for donations or more people to help out so they can expand their outreach.
"A lot of the folks in kind of the crazy outfits like this are volunteers," said Ellenderger. "So they help out with fundraising events like this, or they help out in professional careers that they developed. They can become mentors, from everything from health care to financing and things of that nature."
If you want to help out by donating or giving your time to the cause, you can find this group at operationsecondchance.org.