Veterans set sail: The wind that drives the Vets Crew

Veterans set sail: The wind that drives the Vets Crew

EUGENE, Ore. - A sailing program is making splashes in the community while also helping veterans.

On Friday, five veterans from four branches of the military hopped on the Vets Boat. They're called the Vets Crew, and they have no experience sailing on a race team.

Training for these novices starts in spring, and they compete through the summer and part of fall. The program is in it's second year, and was the brainchild of Doug Smith and Roger Bailey.

"Our goal in recreation is we do activities to help change people's lives," said Bailey, with the City of Eugene River House Outdoor Center. "We were just able to come together around a single mission and it's about being competitive and being a good crew and it was very fulfilling."

The crew used their training to bolster a competitive edge against teams that had worked together for years. What's important is the camaraderie, not only within their team but also from the sailing community.

"It really is just wonderful to get on the dock in a race and the guys you just beat in a race are slapping you on the back, giving you a high five and congratulating you on your victory," said Bailey.

All made possible by a group of people that will support each other as they sail across the oceans, or in this case, the Fern Ridge Reservoir.

Bailey says he hopes to continue this program next year, and that they are looking for sponsors. Each year they start with a new group of veterans, and if you're a veteran and interested in joining the 2018 team, contact the River House Outdoor Center.

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