Canandaigua VA Medical Center
Veterans launch kayaks on
One resource that is plentiful in upstate New York is water. The American Red Cross of the Finger Lakes Region, headquartered in Rochester NY, decided to take advantage of this abundance of fresh water in our area to assist Veterans with physical therapy and rehabilitation needs.
As part of its Service to Armed Forces program, the American Red Cross applied for and received a grant from the National American Red Cross to fund the purchase of nine kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices for use at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center’s Recreation Therapy Department.
On July 12, program participants launched kayaks in the first Canandaigua Lake expedition.
“We thought it was a great, creative way to give Veterans an opportunity to exercise and get out on the lake,” said Leighton Jones, Director of the Service to Armed Forces program of the Red Cross. The Canandaigua VA worked with Canandaigua Sailboarding to purchase the equipment at cost. Until now, the kayaks have been tested at the Canandaigua YMCA.
“Kayaking provides a plethora of benefits,” said Hank Riegel, Recreation Therapy Supervisor at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center. “The experience is highly personal. Kayaking allows an individual of all different skill levels to enjoy wildlife, increase upper body strength, and develop self-confidence, all while experiencing a very physically and mentally therapeutic form of recreation.”