BRIDGETON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Three men are kayaking the length of the Muskegon River to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.
The idea came about around a year ago as two friends talked about their own struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. The idea quickly grew to a group of three and a larger goal to support the Wounded Warrior Project.
“I got sent overseas twice,” Daron Troyer, a U.S. Navy veteran of nearly 30 years, said. “PTSD, what it is, it’s different for everybody. So I had my little bit of it. Todd (Marlink) was never in the service, but he had a son who was an Army Ranger who didn’t return. So that was real hard on him.”
The third kayaker, U.S. Army veteran Christopher Krause, was injured in an IED explosion when he was serving in Afghanistan.
Troyer said kayaking gives him and his friends a sense of clarity.
“You get what you’re here for. The eagle flies off the tree. The baby fawn swims across the river. It gives you a little perspective, a little calm,” Troyer said.
It’s an eight-day paddle from Houghton Lake to Muskegon Lake. The group launched June 27, but had to stop their trip after having to navigate around several logs, one of which damaged a kayak.
“This river it looks like it’s an easy thing, but trees can fall from either side, so there’s a lot of zigzagging,” Troyer said. “It’s a lot of work.”
It won’t be long for the group puts back in the water. They’re determined to paddle the hundreds of miles in the name of those who serve our country.
“Military people are like, ‘If it’s not going to be me, then who?’ So we just do it,” Troyer said.
The three haven’t set a timeline to relaunch their trip, but say they would like to finish by the end of the summer.
As of Wednesday, they had raised more than $2,100 for the Wounded Warrior Project. Donations can still be made online.