Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) continues to affect a large portion of our veteran population as more and more people are speaking out about it. Advocacy efforts have involved everything from woodworking to crocheting and even motorcycle rallies. But you’ve probably never seen anything like this before. This story involves a group of men, some oars, and the unpredictable ocean.
The “Foar From Home” crew is made up of four Fernandina Beach veterans from four distinct military branches. Last month, they set out on a journey to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in the name of one thing and one thing only. PTSD awareness.
The crew includes Billy Cimino of the Army, Cameron Hansen of the Air Force, Paul Lore of the Marine Corps, and A.M. “Hupp” Huppman from the Navy. They started their mission back on December 12th leaving La Gomera, Spain with their sights set for a particular Caribbean island (Antigua). This is their story.
The Veterans’ Wives Reveal the Inspiration for the Mission
Two of the veterans’ wives revealed that the men’s journey started on a bit of a whim. According to Lulu Huppmann, “One day, we were all out and the boys just decided, ‘hey, we can do that.'”
Starla Hansen is also an Air Force veteran. She says that she has seen the impact of PTSD on her fellow servicemen and women firsthand.
“We’ve all known people in our careers who have seen things they’ll never truly recover from emotionally,” she says. “It makes it very real and very near to our hearts.”
And as much as the wives are worried about their husbands, the greater cause is what helps them keep their faith. “It just makes me try not to have so much anxiety around this trip,” Lulu Huppmann says. “That there is a mission, and they are accomplishing this mission.”
“The other wives and I are truly close and support each other and I think that’s how we’re really getting through this,” Lulu Huppmann adds.
The team has been going strong for over three weeks now and is just shy of its $730,000 goal.
What They Plan to Do With the Proceeds
The rowing crew should arrive in Antigua by the end of the month. As of now, the anticipated date remains January 28th but this could always change. The Atlantic Ocean’s waters are unpredictable and delays are certainly possible.
After returning to land, the “Foar From Home” crew plans on using the proceeds to open a “mega-kennel” for service dogs. They plan on naming the kennel “Courageous” and housing 64 dogs that will be rescued, trained, and then paired with veterans to offer them support.
You can track them and learn more about their journey here.