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Team River Runner (TRR), established in August 2004 by kayakers in the Washington, DC area, is a primarily volunteer non-profit organization run by a council of kayakers and overseen by a board of directors. TRR was initially established to help active duty military personnel wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan who were recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. With the success there obvious and the opportunity elsewhere apparent, TRR expanded to other Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) chapter sites in 2007.
TRR envisions a growing national chapter network which creates innovative paddling programs designed to assist with the recovery of those injured while serving our country. TRR volunteers and partners provide local communities unique opportunities for the active, safe and positive support of healing service members and their families.
Improvements to protective clothing and equipment for the U.S. military have led to fewer combat deaths, but also to an increase in the rate of severe injuries, such as loss of limbs. Between March 2003 (the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq) and February of 2012, 6,350 U.S. troops have died and over 47,333 have been wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation New Dawn (OND) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), according to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) www.defense.gov/news/casualty.pdf.
Wounded service members endure many months of surgeries, physical and readjustment therapy, prosthetic fittings, and other life changes. Against this backdrop, those who are able will welcome a chance to pick up a new challenge, and get out of the daily routine of their treatment for a day. They are attracted to whitewater and adventure kayaking because it offers an exciting way to improve their health, strength, and connection with nature.