Everybody needs community.
For the Kentucky Wounded Heroes (KWH), their brotherhood is their community. Their shared experiences in the military give them a place to tell their story and form lifelong bonds.
KWH is a nonprofit that organizes recreational activities and outdoor excursions for veterans who have been wounded or disabled in combat. Its goal is to promote veterans’ emotional and social well-being.
Thanks to the Citrus County Airboat Alliance, KWH members recently enjoyed a week of boating, fishing, and camping in Citrus County’s natural attractions.
Every year, the alliance allows KWH to use its airboats to venture out to its fishing and camping sites on Hernando Beach. On Saturday, June 8, the alliance members brought 15 veterans to Hernando Beach to show their appreciation for the alliance’s support.
“One thing that separates us from other organizations is no one in this organization gets paid. Everything we do comes from in-kind donations,” said Buck Parker, KWH staff member and Army veteran. “People like that (the airboat alliance) are who allow us to do these kinds of things.”
The 15 veterans lined up next to their airboats ready to sail to their campsite in the middle of the lake, where they caught up, laughed, and shared stories over a barbecue while their children swam and shot hoops.
“A lot of healing comes from getting people out of the house,” Parker said.
Kevin Vipper, KWH member and Army veteran, said the organization serves veterans by giving them something to do and someone to talk to.
“Lots of veterans stay closed up, not very social anymore. This gets them out, gets a smile on their face,” he said. “These are lifelong bonds. It’s like seeing a family member you haven’t seen in a long time,” he said.
Besides their trips to Citrus County, KWH members also get to participate in activities such as golf scrambles, silent auctions, football games and an annual trip to Alaska.
KWH also thanked the Nature Coast Anglers of Homassasa, which volunteered its boats to them this week without charge, and Robert McClinnis, fishing captain on Mermaidtales Fishing in Homossasa, who also volunteered all week with them.