Keith Deutsch

I joined the Army shortly after 9/11. I first met Joe Mornini (TRR Director) when he came to Colorado to host a clinic a couple of years ago. He introduced me to white water and I was hooked immediately. Kayaking is not something that you can do alone. I like to compare the sport of white water boating to actual combat. In both situations, we rely heavily on those around us. In the Army, your squad is your family. Similarly, on the river one might lose their mind and succumb to the raw power of the river. At this point, it is necessary for someone to save your life…hopefully a competent someone. Just like on the battle field. In both situations there is zero room for error. The equipment is expensive to lose and lives are impossible to replace.

We are still losing near 20 soldiers a month in Colorado to beer, video games and suicide. I KNOW introducing these heros to nature works. I don’t know how but it makes us better. This is important work, and it is something that they will come back for. Next season in Denver I want to get five people certified as instructors. These five instructors will be asked to reach out to five more returning veterans. Together we will serve the mission of Team River Runner – Promoting Health and Healing through white water boating.

Vanessa Jones

Committe Co-Chair

Vanessa A. Jones is a dynamic force dedicated to fostering
inclusivity, encouraging discussion, and promoting a culture of
belonging in the outdoor sports community. Hailing from
Washington, DC, she brings a wealth of diverse experiences and
perspectives to her endeavors.
As a US Army veteran and ordained Chaplain with a focus on
seniors and caretakers, Vanessa is deeply committed to serving
others. Her work as a patient-caretaker advocate reflects her
passion for supporting vulnerable populations and ensuring their
voices are heard.
Currently, Vanessa is employed by a resettlement agency, where
she confronts challenges head-on with resilience and
compassion. As a single, Black woman veteran, she embraces
the unique hurdles she faces, viewing them as opportunities for
growth and empowerment.
In her downtime, she wears many hats, including that of a
missionary, spreading hope and positivity wherever she goes.
Weekends are spent paddling, immersing herself in West African
dance and finding solace and joy in nature’s embrace.
Vanessa is committed to equitable principles, ensuring that
everyone’s opinions are valued and heard. Through her
unwavering dedication and inclusive leadership, Vanessa is
paving the way for a more equitable and diverse outdoor sports