Team River Runner Featured in RiverBent


Paddling puts you in a good headspace, as any avid boater can attest. For military veterans in particular, learning to paddle whitewater can be life-altering.

“I’ve had combat veterans say that it’s the first thing they did since combat that replicated combat,” said Joe Mornini, the executive director of Team River Runner, a national organization that teaches paddling skills and provides paddling experiences for military veterans. “It’s dangerous, you can train to get better at it, it’s continuous, and it’s relentless. And you can do it with a buddy.”

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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