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USRowing Receives Grant Renewal from Department of Veterans Affairs

by Sarah Marshall, smarshall@usrowing.org | Nov 04, 2015
For the second consecutive year, USRowing has been honored with a grant from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to continue to provide adaptive rowing opportunities for disabled veterans and members of the armed services through its Freedom Rows program.

PRINCETON, N.J. – For the second consecutive year, USRowing has been honored with a grant from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to continue to provide adaptive rowing opportunities for disabled veterans and members of the armed services through its Freedom Rows program.

The grant, which has been increased by almost $50,000 from 2014 to $299,000, will continue to17781372330_bd87a5fe39_z (1) allow boathouses across the country to open their doors to veterans seeking adaptive rowing opportunities and continue to offer the many benefits of rowing to athletes from all walks of life.

“Through this partnership with the VA, the sport of rowing has been made more accessible to people who know the value of teamwork and what it takes to overcome great adversity,” said USRowing Chief Executive Officer Glenn Merry. “We are happy to be able to expand the reach of USRowing to a larger community of veterans.”

The Grants for Adaptive Sports Programs for Disabled Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces (ASG Program) provides grant funding to organizations to increase and expand the quantity and quality of adaptive sport activities for disabled veterans and members of the armed forces.  It furthers the opportunity to participate in physical activity within their home communities, as well as allows for more advanced Paralympic and adaptive sport programs at the regional and national levels.

Through the grant, USRowing will be partnering with VA rehabilitations hospitals and USRowing member organizations across the country, including the seven existing programs and 14 new programs. 

Existing Programs
Raleigh, N.C.                                            Raleigh-Durham Crew – Durham VA
Denver, Colo.                                            Longmont Rowing Club – Denver VA
Oklahoma City, Okla.                               OKC Warriors – Oklahoma City VA
Los Gatos, Calif.                                       Los Gatos Rowing Club – Palo Alto VA
Detroit, Mich.                                            Detroit Boat Club – Detroit VA
Boston, Mass.                                          Community Rowing, Inc. – Boston VA
San Diego, Calif.                                      San Diego Rowing Club – San Diego VA

New Programs
Washington, D.C.                                      Anacostia Boathouse – MedStar Rehabilitation Hospital & Capital Rowing Club – Walter Reed Hospital
Seattle, Wash.                                           Pocock Rowing Center – Puget Sound VA
                                                                   Seize the Oar Racing Team – Puget Sound VA
Tuscaloosa, Ala.                                       University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa VA
Dallas, Texas                                             Dallas United Crew – Dallas VA North Texas
                                                                    White Rock Rowing – Dallas VA North Texas
Barrington, R.I.                                          East Bay Rowing Club – Providence VA
West Haven, Conn.                                    West Haven Rowing Club – Connecticut VA
Stockton, Calif.                                          Delta Sculling Center – Modesto Vet Center
Austin, Texas                                             Texas Rowing Center – Center for Intrepid
Cape Cod, Mass.                                        Cape Cod Freedom Rows – Spaulding Rehab, Koehler Clinic, Joint Base Cape Cod, VA-Hyannis, Mashie
Houston, Texas                                          Unlimited Rowing – DeBakey Medical Center
San Antonio, Texas                                    Central Texas VA

16523514989_d5b5572d9c_k (1)“As someone who gets to work with these people first-hand,” said Adaptive Programs Specialist Debbie Arenberg, “Nothing is more exciting for me than to see a person’s eyes light up and the huge smile they have when they are back on the water, perhaps for the first time since they were injured in combat.”

“Rowing benefits injured veterans in so many ways besides the more obvious physical ones. Our job is to adapt the equipment so even those with a high level of injury can participate, and for too many, this might be the first or only real intense form of exercise they’ve been able to participate in previous to their injuries,” continued Arenberg. “The competitions also allow them to contribute to the final outcome, to be a part of a team, and provide a spirit of friendship and socialization that is often missing in the isolation that results in the life of an injured vet. We are honored and thankful to have received this grant for another year and consider it a privilege to be able to introduce rowing to the men and women who have served our country.”

The primary goals of the program include:

  • Increasing the number of disabled 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.

“Adaptive sports help veterans heal both physically and emotionally,” said Secretary of Veterans17781319010_187ba0163f_k (1) Affairs Robert A. McDonald in a press release announcing the grant awards. “We are proud to partner with organizations nationwide to provide these rehabilitative opportunities to America’s veterans.”

In addition to the 21 Freedom Rows programs, USRowing will be conducting outreach efforts at other VA hospitals and through the Valor Games, Gateway for Gold and other veteran sports events throughout the country.

The VA will distribute the total grant of eight million dollars to 89 national, regional and community programs serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Approximately 10,000 veterans and service members are expected to benefit.

Information about the awardees and details of the program may be found here.

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