War veterans say kayaking helps them cope with combat trauma - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

War veterans say kayaking helps them cope with combat trauma

HACKBERRY, LA (KPLC) -

Some war veterans have found effective ways to help cope with trauma they've brought home from combat.

It was a beautiful day in the marshes of Hackberry, far from the stresses of life. These kayakers are combat veterans learning to escape the demons they brought back from the battlefield. 

Josh Droddy and he and his service dog, Grunt, are always together.
"He's been my little buddy. He's three years old. He goes everywhere I do," he said. 

Droddy has severe PTSD and has struggled with illegal drug use but said now he's addicted to the outdoors —sunrises and sunsets.

"I came out here fishing with these people last year. I was hooked on meth and other drugs really bad a few years ago when I first got  back from Iraq and tried committing suicide several times, I moved back to Louisiana, the outdoors programs and I got back into outdoors and fishing and it really saved my life," he said.

The veterans who have been involved with Heroes on the Water for a while have learned that being out there in a kayak and fishing is a kind of therapy you can't get in somebody's office or in the hospital. 

Ken Gibson served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and suffers from physical injuries.

"My back. We had an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) go off underneath me. It broke a bunch of bones, my vertebrae spine and stuff. (It) messed up my legs pretty good," he said.

Gibson said it helps to think about other things. 

"It definitely helps you mentally getting a lot of stuff that stays on your mind all the time. It helps you focus on something else," he said.

This was his first time kayaking and Gibson said it won't be his last.

"It was amazing, I was thoroughly surprised. I thought it was going to hurt more doing it. I definitely want to do this again in the future," he said.

Droddy is the coordinator for the new Southwest Louisiana chapter of Heroes on the Water. A major goal of Heroes on the Water is to reduce the alarming  numbers of veterans who commit suicide.

"21 soldiers a day is way too many and if we can stop at least one number, that's great," Droddy said.

More than anything Droddy said the organization's message is that those who suffer are not alone and no matter what, there's always hope. 

This is the big weekend for the Southwest Louisiana chapter  — it will hold its kick-off event Saturday and Sunday at Bell's Hunting Lodge in Hackberry.

For more information, click HERE. To visit the organization's Facebook Page, click HERE

Copyright 2015 KPLC. All rights reserved.
 

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Greinwich Terrace family receives new home after Harvey

    Greinwich Terrace family receives new home after Harvey

    Monday, October 16 2017 11:36 PM EDT2017-10-17 03:36:51 GMT
    Source: Christian PiekosSource: Christian Piekos

    It's no secret Harvey devastated the Greinwich Terrace neighborhood in Lake Charles, as many families are still struggling to piece together their lives. One family, however, has finally found light at the end of the tunnel. "It's all on me," said Patricia Elie, a Greinwich Terrace resident. "I'm disabled, I don't work. I take care of my son." Darnell is Elie's 41-year-old son. He was born with cerebral palsy and had a stroke 14 years ago. He is completely immobi...

    More >>

    It's no secret Harvey devastated the Greinwich Terrace neighborhood in Lake Charles, as many families are still struggling to piece together their lives. One family, however, has finally found light at the end of the tunnel. "It's all on me," said Patricia Elie, a Greinwich Terrace resident. "I'm disabled, I don't work. I take care of my son." Darnell is Elie's 41-year-old son. He was born with cerebral palsy and had a stroke 14 years ago. He is completely immobi...

    More >>
  • BREAKING

    Troopers deploy spike strip on I-210 to stop chase

    Troopers deploy spike strip on I-210 to stop chase

    Monday, October 16 2017 11:23 PM EDT2017-10-17 03:23:18 GMT
    Blake Aaron Mouton Smith (Source: KPLC)Blake Aaron Mouton Smith (Source: KPLC)
    A Lake Charles man is under arrested following a vehicle chase through Lake Charles Monday evening, authorities say. Blake Aaron Mouton Smith, 26, faces charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (second offense), possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of pharmaceuticals without a prescription, aggravated flight from an officer, possession of an open alcoholic beverage container, passing on the...More >>
    A Lake Charles man is under arrested following a vehicle chase through Lake Charles Monday evening, authorities say. Blake Aaron Mouton Smith, 26, faces charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (second offense), possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of pharmaceuticals without a prescription, aggravated flight from an officer, possession of an open alcoholic beverage container, passing on the...More >>
  • TRAFFIC: Accident causing congestion in both directions on I-10 Calcasieu River bridge

    TRAFFIC: Accident causing congestion in both directions on I-10 Calcasieu River bridge

    Monday, October 16 2017 11:12 PM EDT2017-10-17 03:12:01 GMT
    (Source: KPLC SkyCam)(Source: KPLC SkyCam)

    An accident is causing traffic on the I-10 bridge to back up in both directions. Take an alternate route if possible. Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>

    An accident is causing traffic on the I-10 bridge to back up in both directions. Take an alternate route if possible. Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly