'Fight Oar Die' for veteran's mental health

'Fight Oar Die' for veteran's mental health

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Rowing together and fighting for change. That is what rowing team Fight Oar Die is doing from all four corners of the country.

"No one really in the United States knows about people who row the ocean. It's just unheard of," says Alex Evans with Fight Oar Die.

Determined might be an understatement. This group is the only all Veteran American team of four is taking on an exceptional challenge.

In December, they will row 3,000 miles through the South Atlantic Ocean. They are rowing for a cause they hold in their hearts and heads.

Evans started with the idea to do the unthinkable: row across the ocean in a race expected to take over a month.

"Initially I called Beau. I knew he was crazy enough to do something like this with me. The first year we didn't get off the ground, but we didn't quit," says Evans.

His team is made up of four Army veterans living in four different states and training in different time zones with a clear purpose to push them stroke by stroke. That purpose is veteran's Mental Health.

"Veterans, we've seen things that humans aren't supposed to see. It really does... it really does cut deep. A lot of times we bury it, and that turns out to be unhealthy in the long run," says Evans.

The men formed the non-profit Fight Oar Die. They partnered with Denver University's Doctor Jacob Hyde who is a veteran and a professor.

Dr. Hyde's first round of 16 students graduated with doctorates in military psychology.

"We get veterans in to see Dr. Hyde and his students, so they're getting help right there. We pay for that. In turn, those doctoral students get to experience what it's like working with a Veteran," says Evans.

What started with just one team is already growing.

"Every year we're going to have another group of four Veterans that are going to take part in this race. We already have recruits. We already have our skipper for 2020," says Evans.

It is no small feat. Evans expects to lose 20 percent of his body weight during the race, but they all know what they signed up for.

"It's just like a deployment for us," says Evans.

We plan to follow the team's journey leading up to their race in December.

You can find more information, including how you can support Fight Oar Die here.

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