OJT - On The Job Training

Learn more about our mentorship program that has been providing veterans in TRR chapters an opportunity to gain leadership, instruction and management experience for three years!

What is the OJT Program?
The OJT program is for wounded or disabled veterans participating in Team River Runner and is an opportunity for professional growth and skill building in many areas. The OJT veteran will be working 10 hours each week for 30 weeks on regular Team River Runner activities. These activities will include outreach, program delivery and instruction, as well as follow up data recording for each paddling session. The idea behind the program is to build chapter leadership from within the TRR. We have been successful with this as some of our former OJT participants have started their own chapters. Additionally, the OJT veteran will develop leadership skills that will be applicable to other careers such as volunteer, equipment management and adaptive sports instruction. Each OJT veteran will have one or more mentors to provide advice and support as needed. The OJT program is funded by Disabled Sports USA through an Adaptive Sports Grant from the Department of Veterans Administration.

2024 OJT Participant

Christopher Beall Chattanooga, TN

Team River Runner

Sonya Cohan
Denver, CO

Team River Runner

JHilliard Photo

Josh Hilliard
American River, CA

Team River Runner

– Prior Sergeant in the USMC
– TRR member since 2021
OJT Goals:
-My goals for OJT are to increase my paddling knowledge and abilities, expand my SWR capabilities, and to be more proficient in my interpersonal skills in order to be a more valuable asset to my chapter. I have discovered a passion for kayaking through TRR, and I want to be able to share that experience by assisting in expanding my local chapter through positive community outreach, and also ensuring new individuals are trained appropriately.
I very much enjoy meeting new people, and have had the pleasure of being able to paddle with three other TRR chapters from across the country.

Michael Lanning
Spokane, WA

Team River Runner

United States Air Force: 2012-2018
Joined Team River Runner: 2017 
I enjoy being around quality people, having good conversations, and eating delicious food. Kayaking and rafting big whitewater rivers is by far my favorite outlet in life to ground myself. Team River Runner allows me the opportunity to explore new places, grow as a kayaker, and build new long lasting friendships.
OJT Goals:
– Organize the 2nd PNW Annual Kayak Football Championship 
– Increase Veteran Activity within the Spokane Chapter
– Run as many rivers as possible
– Receive ACA Certification

Jennifer Love
Susquehanna Valley, PA

Team River Runner

US Air Force Veteran

TRR is about service and helping people find a sense of accomplishment. To put it bluntly, Kayaking has saved my life. It has gotten me through some difficult times and if I can spread the joys of healing through kayaking to other veterans, I feel like it is the perfect way to give back to something that has been instrumental in my own healing. 

Participating in TRR helps veterans regain that sense of belonging. It’s a community of like-minded individuals who can seek out positivity and support from others who have walked in similar shoes. 

OJT Goals:

To start a TRR chapter in Harrisburg PA.  I want to grow our Veteran base in my hometown by providing white water experiences to our Veterans and their families.  I also want to become an ACA certified kayak instructor.

Richard Pastorius
Colorado Springs, CO

Team River Runner

US Army Reserves, Colorado Army National Guard 1995-2023
Team River Runner: 2020 – Present 
Quiver: Dagger Genesis, Mohawk Probe 12, Mad River Outrage, Savage Skeeter 
Favorite Local Runs: Parkdale, Browns Canyon, Lower Blue 
Weekly lake sessions in the summer 
Get the chapter out to practice swimming 
More paddles for beginner level members
Make sick moves while looking cool 

Mason Sovereign
Oklahoma City, OK

Team River Runner

6 Years infantry. 2006-12 
6 Years as a union Ironworker
3 Years Local Maintenance
Kayaking has become for me a place to be happy and relaxed, a place where I can learn and push myself again with 100% effort.
My OJT goals this year are to grow our chapter.
Learn how to do logistics for planning events for our chapter.
Get one or two Certified Instructors in our local chapter.
Help people experience the Joy I feel in a boat for themselves.

Lance Sharp
OJT Program Coordinator




Jeff Allen
Former OJT Participant

“The OJT program allowed me to get more experience working with veterans who have injuries and it has made my life a lot better because I am not just stuck in the house. I really enjoyed it and I’m pretty much hooked.”

Dave Robey
TRR Program Director

“These warfighters are our force multipliers, each of them turns around and helps other veterans. It’s a part of the ongoing healing process; they are healing and the veterans they help are also healing.”

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