Five Blinded Veterans To Kayak Colorado River 226 miles September 1- 12th 2018


Alexandria, Va. -  Five members of the Congressionally Chartered Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) are joining together for first ever attempt of group of blinded veterans kayaking the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon this September 31 days from now they start. Under the umbrella of Operation Peer Support (OPS) program for Gulf War I and Gulf War II era veterans, four army veterans and one Navy veteran they will spend a week of September 2-11, 2018 kayaking some of the most difficult water rapids in the United States together. For over seven months they have been in training with experts from the non-profit Team River Runner that promotes kayaking and team water recreational programs for disabled veterans.

              Team River Runner (TRR) is an adaptive paddling adventure program for wounded and disabled veterans, their family members, and other non- military disabled paddlers in communities across the nation. TRR began service to the returning wounded at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in 2004, and since their formation, has put over 10,000 veterans into kayaks in more than 60 Chapters nationwide.

              The team is led by Dave Robey, a retired Navy Captain and the Program Director of TRR and blinded Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell from BVA. Lonnie said “These veterans are demonstrating to the public their accomplishments to inspire others with disabilities to continue to participate in activities."

               Navy Desert Storm veteran Lonnie Bedwell is the groups team coordinator, he was first blinded veteran in history in 2013 and then again in 2015 Lonnie kayaked the Grand Canyon 222 miles. Lonnie said “increased cooperation and understanding between these veterans constantly builds confidence. In addition, participants have built life -long friendships, share knowledge of blind and visually impaired advances and exchange insights and personal experiences regarding their own adjustments to blindness.” Lonnie is nationally known as he has kayaked the Grand Canyon three times now, with this fourth journey planned this September. He kayaked the Upper Gauley and Zambezi Rivers, both Class V world renowned rivers. He is Instructional Coordinator of many of TRR's Outtasight and Vision Team Clinics.  For more information, please contact Lonnie Bedwell at 812-648-2373.