Peaceful Waters Kayak Adventures help vets, first responders with PTSD
Veteran Josh Crawford uses nature to help others with PTSD
TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Josh Crawford is this week's News 6 Getting Results Award winner.
Crawford started Peaceful Waters Kayak Adventures in Brevard County to help veterans and first responders deal with post traumatic stress.
Crawford can be found on most weekdays just beyond the A. Max Brewer Bridge in Titusville. He pulls a trailer full of kayaks with his pickup truck, ready to take any veteran out for a fishing or sightseeing trip whenever they want.
Crawford, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq, says the images of battle still haunt him. His time on the Indian River is one of the few things that put him at peace.
"Just being out on the water, seeing different things -- dolphins, manatees will come up and play with you -- it's peaceful. It really is."
Crawford came up with the idea for the nonprofit after dealing with his own depression.
"A lot of veterans are calling it quits and putting themselves in the ground. It's happened to quite a few of my buddies," Crawford says. "I was about to be one of them."
He realized the water was his sanctuary, a place where he could clear his mind and relax.
"I said to myself, 'I enjoy fishing. I know it helps me. It's a total stress reliever. I'm going to buy kayaks and start taking veterans out. Veterans, police officers, any first responders,'" Crawford said.
Crawford says for many veterans, it's also a chance to open up to someone who has the same experiences.
"I'm, kind of, like, I guess you can say a battle buddy," he says. "A lot of veterans don't want to share their stories with civilians, you know, people that haven't been there and I get that, because I didn't want to either."
The trips are free, and Crawford provides all the supplies.
He says some of the veterans he's taken out have bought kayaks of their own after experiencing the calm waters.
"It's fun watching them hook a fish and seeing the smile on their face," Crawford said.
Any veteran or first responder that would like to take a fishing or sightseeing trip can contact Crawford on his Facebook page: Peaceful Waters Kayak Adventures
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