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Team River Runner (TRR), established in August 2004 by kayakers in the Washington, DC area, is a primarily volunteer-run 501c3 non-profit organization. TRR was initially established to help active duty military personnel wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan who were recovering at (the now-closed) 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.
Over the years TRR has grown from a tiny pool in Northwest DC, into a growing network of chapters across the nation, which create 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 any wounded/disabled veteran and active duty service member, as well as their families.
Recovering service members and veterans can endure many months of surgeries, physical and readjustment therapy, prosthetic fittings, and other drastic 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 daily treatments. They are attracted to whitewater and adventure kayaking because it offers an exciting way to improve their health, strength, social integration, and their connection to nature.
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.