The current focus of Denver's SCI Humanitarian Outreach Program (SCI HOP) began in 2004 when members Bob Adwar and Russ McLennan reached out to Craig Hospital—the nations premier center for treating spinal cord and brain injuries—and offered to take some of their patients on a Pheasant Hunting trip. The outing was successful as a morale booster for patients coping with life-changing injuries. As the seasons changed we expanded the program to include Fly Fishing and then continued to fill the calendar with year-around activities.
As wounded war veteran’s began to return from combat with PTSD, Traumatic Brain and other injuries, we recognized the need for these men and women to enjoy the healing effects of the outdoors as well. With the help of Operation TBI Freedom and other organizations we are proud to have injured Veterans as one of the main groups we serve.
Spending one-day fishing on the river or on any other adventure may seem trite given the breadth and depth of some people’s injuries and trauma but it can actually completely change one’s outlook. Given that an average of 22 Veterans commit suicide every day, we feel it is vitally important to offer any opportunity for these folks to find peace in their heads and their hearts and the strength to continue on. A day in the outdoors with others offers camaraderie, fun and a change of scenery from a daily routine that can be isolating and stressful. This can have a therapeutic effect as it offers hope and opens the mind to possibility and healing.
Over the years we have taken thousands of Veterans and other individuals on hunting, fishing, archery, and other adventures. We also plan holiday parties and fishing days where participants can bring their whole family in on the fun. We look forward to serving thousands more individuals moving forward. Click here if you would like to help make this possible.
We would like to recognize a core group of volunteers who help with the logistics, planning and execution of each event: Bob Adwar, Russ McLennan, Chris Dundas, Devron Cody, Scott Polak, Rob Krisnar, Jamie Guthridge, and the many outfitters and partners that we have listed here.
The Denver Chapter is proud to have been recognized by National SCI for this successful program through numerous awards including the Veteran's award receive at the National Convention in 2015.
"I JUST WANTED TO THANK YOU GUYS AGAIN FOR THE EVENT THIS PAST SUNDAY AT COLDER WEATHER OUTFITTERS. THERE WAS A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN MY CLIENT FROM THE CAR RIDE UP TO FIRESTONE VERSUS THE TRIP BACK. THAT OUTING BOOSTED HIS SPIRIT AND HIS MORALE IN A WONDERFUL WAY. IT ALSO GOT HIM SOME EXERCISE AND IN MANY WAYS REJUVENATED HIM. YOU'RE MAKING A DIFFERENCE AND I PERSONALLY APPRECIATE WHAT YOUR DOING FOR VETS."
~ROBERT L. ALTENBERND, CMSGT (RET), USAF, BA - FORMER ROCKY MOUNTAIN HUMAN SERVICES, MILITARY SUPPORT SPECIALIST