3 veterans kayaking Hudson River to spread awareness of veteran suicide

Local

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Three veterans, who share the same purpose of raising awareness for veteran suicide and homelessness, have taken to the Hudson River to spread their message.

Veterans kayaking down the Hudson is an effort to raise awareness for veterans issues, specifically suicide and homelessness. Kevin Keaveny, a veteran from Ulster County, said 22 veterans take their own lives every day in the United States.

“No one wants to lose a veteran,” he said. “No one wants to see that happen, but we’re not communicating. We’re not working together. We’re not fluid. We’re not finding a solution.”

Rain or shine, the three veterans are showing others that when times get rough, just keep moving forward. And for this brave group, they’re moving along in kayaks made by veterans. 

“I built my kayak after a buddy of mine who had died in combat with me. I had plans on kayaking a lot more to get out and live life because that’s what our motto is with this trip — to live.”

Matt Russell from Saugerties didn’t have to think twice about kayaking for a cause.  

“When Kevin Keaveny came up to me and said we want to take a little trip, I said yes right away because I wanted to kayak,” he said. “A couple of days later I find out that it’s the entire Hudson River.”

Three hundred fifteen miles to be exact. The group started September 5, and their goal is to make it to Manhattan on September 30. The team made it to Albany Wednesday night with Thursday being their recovery day.

“I don’t care what it takes; I’m going to do it.”

With very little training beforehand, Russell’s arms are sore, but he said that’s the least of his worries. 

“Just because my hands are cramping, we’re here for the veterans,” he said. “They’re in a lot worse shape than we are, but that’s what we’re trying to portray.”

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