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Participate in the Military Challenge as a Member of the USRowing Freedom Rows Teams

by Ed Moran, ed@usrowing.org | Feb 03, 2015
Three days a week, Andrew Johnson and a group of about eight veterans meet up at Devon Boathouse in Oklahoma City to participate with OKC Warriors Rowing Team, a military affiliate program associated with USRowing’s Freedom Rows program. They spend a lot of time of the water or on rowing machines, some built to accommodate war-wounded amputees.

 

 Take part in the Military Challenge with USRowing's Freedom Rows Team.

Three days a week, Andrew Johnson and a group of about eight veterans meet up at Devon Boathouse in Oklahoma City to participate with OKC Warriors Rowing Team, a military affiliate program associated with USRowing’s Freedom Rows program. They spend a lot of time of the water or on rowing machines, some built to accommodate war-wounded amputees.

But starting February 1, Johnson and the rest of these vets will be participating in a national Military Challenge run by Concept2 as part of the of the Freedom Rows – OKC Warriors Rowing Team. By either using an erg or a SkiErg machine, veterans – former or active duty, wounded or able-bodied – can pile up the meters and win recognition for themselves and their group.

The Oklahoma City Freedom Rows affiliate is one of six groups currently being supported by USRowing through a Veterans Administration grant designed to open boathouses and introduce adaptive rowing to disabled veterans and members of the armed services across the country.

In addition to Oklahoma City, there are Freedom Rows affiliates in Detroit, Mich., San Diego and Palo Alto, Calif., Durham, N.C. and Denver, Colo. In collaboration with local clubs, veterans centers and USRowing, the veterans are introduced to the sport and provided specialized equipment and coaching.

And the Concept2 Military Challenge is an opportunity to get more veterans introduced to the sport.

“We’re trying to reach 1,000 vets this year, and by registering for the challenge, it encourages them to come back and continue rowing. The challenge is a conduit to introducing them to the sport of rowing,” said Debbie Arenberg, USRowing’s Adaptive Programs Development Specialist. “And if someone doesn’t want to register for the challenge, that’s fine. They can go to one of their USRowing clubs and continue rowing there.”

The Military Challenge runs through February, with a deadline to register meters by March 3. Participants register online on the Concept2 website (http://log.concept2.com/challenge/events/military.asp) and follow the instructions for signing up. All six of the Freedom Rows’ programs are listed under the “Affiliates” menu on the registration page in the logbook.

Veterans from anywhere in the country can register as a participant of any of the Freedom Rows affiliates, or they can contact Debbie Arenberg to set up their own Freedom Rows group for the Military Challenge.

Johnson, who said he became involved in the Oklahoma City group through his local veterans support center, is hoping to help grow the size of his team.

“We’re going to push this hard,” said the 38-year-old Navy veteran. “We have eight that are singed up and are actively logging meters. We are all going to be affiliated with the Freedom Rows, Oklahoma City affiliate.”

Anyone who wants to participate in the challenge or find a way to be introduced to rowing should contact Debbie Arenberg at USRowing by calling (207) 850-0211 or emailing her at deb@usrowing.org.

About USRowing

USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing has 75,000 individual members and 1,200 member organizations, offering rowing programs for all. USRowing’s official suppliers include Concept 2, Croker Oars, JanSport, Nielsen Kellerman, Vespoli and WinTech. USRowing also receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners: ANXeBusiness Corp, Boathouse Sports, Connect-A-Dock, EMCVenues, Ludus Tours, Rudy Project and Shimano. USRowing relies on strong partnerships to enable continued success. America Rows, which supports diversity in rowing and provides opportunities for those with disabilities, also benefits from corporate support. Additional information may be found at www.usrowing.org | Twitter: @usrowing | YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/usrowingorg | Facebook: www.facebook.com/usrowing | Tumblr: http://usrowing.tumblr.com/ | Instagram: usrowingngb.  

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