Blind Connecticut veterans making rowing history

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A group of U.S. veterans in Connecticut is making history by being the first blind veterans rowing crew. The vets gathered on a training barge on the Connecticut River Friday to begin their training to become a full-fledged rowing crew.

Riverfront Recapture, based in Hartford, and The Veterans Rowing and Kayaking Organization, based in West Haven, partnered up to create the program.

“I am so proud that they’re brave enough to do this,” said Paul Stephen Varszegi, President and Founder of The Veterans Rowing and Kayaking Organization. “They’re the first national VA (Veterans Affairs) blind veterans rowing crew. Never been done before, we’re the first here in Connecticut.”

“This is our first outing on the physical water,” said Fred Chutester, one of the veterans who joined the program. “It was a little challenging for me, and to be out on the physical water on the Connecticut River, a little thought I had to give to it.”

While Chutester had some concerns about being out on the water, he is confident about finishing the goal he’s created for himself.

“I’m going to do it, just let me try,” he said. “If I mess up, I mess up.”

The veterans say that being the first blind rowing crew in Connecticut is something that they are looking forward to.

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