Veterans want to support other veterans.
That’s why many Rivers of Recovery alumni help out on future trips—they want to share the experience with other combat vets.
Brenda Falk, retired U.S. Army, went on our first women-only Wisconsin RoR trip in 2016. She came back this year to host more women veterans on the Namekagon River.
“Returning to this Women Rivers of Recovery event as an alumnus gave me the opportunity to help bring other women together outside of their comfort zone and watch them open up and grow together as a team,” Brenda explained. “What happens in the group out on the river and back at the lodging is something that words can not explain. The smiles, laughter, tears and sharing that develops after the event are truly amazing.”
Women in the military are around men all the time. But sometimes what a woman experiences in the military isn’t the same as her fellow soldiers who are men.
Jeff Butler, veterans program coordinator for the National Park Service’s Vets on the River program, has been taking veterans out on outdoor trips for years. He found women vets were an underserved population.
“Women go home and they’re invisible,” Jeff said. “They slip back into society, back into families, back into school.”
Brenda and Jeff are working to change that by encouraging more women veterans to experience a Rivers of Recovery trip.
“Women are often overlooked as veterans and rarely get the time to come and relax doing outdoor events, as most are parents or caretakers of others,” Brenda said. “Having the chance to help facilitate an event like this and bring the best out of each woman was an amazing opportunity.”