Greg Roeder was having a hard time adjusting to everyday life in St. Louis, following his time serving in the U.S. Army.
As a 100-percent disabled vet, he said he was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and not in a good place during that point of his life.
“I had some troubles that I was going through,” he said.
But, thankfully for him, Roeder discovered river surfing. He said not only did it “literally save” his life but made him want to pass on the outdoor activity to other veterans.
Roeder has done that through Team River Runner.
He and his girlfriend Tina Lemus recently helped the non-profit organization set up a chapter right here in Montrose. TRR, along with Welcome Home Alliance for Veterans, held a launch event for veterans, families and residents Saturday at Taviwach Park.
“We just like to give back from what Team River Runner has done for us,” said Roeder, who is the co-chapter coordinator along with Lemus.
Team River Runner is a national nonprofit that provides health and healing to veterans and their families. The organization wants to promote a healthy lifestyle through water sports activities, according to its website.
This Montrose chapter is TRR’s fifth one in Colorado. The others include Denver, Fort Carson/Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Grand Junction.
Roeder credited Anne Hilleman Ryan, who is the founder of LEADs Coaching and LEADS Serves, as the “driving force” behind getting a local chapter.
During the nonprofit’s event on Saturday, it showcased various water sports crafts available to use for veterans like kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. Roeder also indicated toward some adaptive kayaks which would allow veterans with spinal cord injuries to get out on the water.
TRR doesn’t just want to help those who served in the armed forces, but hold community events like a kids’ surf camp, Roeder said.
“We’re going to stay busy,” he said. “As far as I am concerned this isn’t a summertime sport, we’re going to do this all throughout the winter too. It’s going to be around the clock.”
Roeder said he hopes by hosting this event he can sign up more veterans and show them the same benefits he received from river surfing.
“It’s really good therapy to get vets out on the water,” he said.
Roeder also said volunteers are additionally needed for assistance and their white water expertise, adding with a laugh he came from “flat-water Missouri. I don’t know anything about white water.”
For more information, search Team River Runner - Montrose, CO on Facebook or email email@example.com.
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.