Fight Oar Die was the first American veteran team of four to compete in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a 3000 mile ocean rowing race from La Gomera to Antigua. This history-making team completed the extreme event in 54 days, 9 hours, 3 minutes, ending in Antigua on February 4, 2019. The 2019 team completed it in 50 days, 11 hours, and 35 minutes and are currently world record holders for the Spindrift pure class boat affectionately named "The Woobie".
This organization was born out of having to attend buddies' funerals. Our experience is that our brothers and sisters are suffering from effects of their service to this great nation. Some of our friends suffered in silence until they completely isolated themselves from others, including their own friends, brothers/sisters, spouses, partners, and families. Some felt there was no way to bridge the gap and reestablish a connection, and some have taken their lives as a result. We felt called to try to help.
Fight Oar Die promises to show veterans that they can do anything they want; their lives did not end with their military service; they have endured challenges that have enhanced their lives, and those experiences can be used to increase quality of life; to stop taking their lives and start living them.
The days of 5Ks and fun runs to get attention are over. We chose an epic, adventurous, and international event: Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. We selected a team, partnered with a local university that educates and trains PhD students as well as supervises their counseling for Veterans and family members, and then we began asking friends and family members for help.
Because we each brought back our own demons from war, we get it. Not only do we understand how isolating it can get, and how difficult it is dealing with those demons, we also understand that it is not necessary to suffer alone. We have felt the anger of being misunderstood in the civilian world; we have felt isolation in social/community settings; we have avoided intimacy; we have had episodes in public where our actions/reactions did not fit the situation; we have self-medicated ourselves with drinking and drug use; we have felt the shame of having mistreated family members who only mean to help; some of us have even contemplated taking our own lives, so we get it. We also have missed the brotherhood that is formed by intense conditions, close quarters living, and constant states of stress. We have longed for the excitement of danger, for the adrenaline to surge again, to fully feel alive. WE GET IT.
Through forming this nonprofit, we have learned that we are not alone. We have been humbly shown that this nation has NOT forgotten its warriors. We have also realized that we can still have adventures that test our strength, stamina, patience, stress, and worth, while learning that we are more than we realized; that our lives are not over just because our time in service is.
The mission of Fight Oar Die has a couple of parts: one, we will continue to partner with worthy organizations to help fund programs that will reach the greatest number of veterans and families; and two, we will provide four NEW veterans each year the opportunity to apply, to endure the selection process, to realize personal limitations and strengths, to have weekly team meetings, to create ownership in success of the team through fundraising efforts, public speaking, and personal growth, then to be involved in training and competing in a life-changing ocean rowing event.
Won't you help us help MORE Veterans?
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