Emily Griffin introduces us to a Croghan man who is making waves to help veterans.
WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) – “I’ve deployed three times, twice to Iraq, once to Afghanistan, both as an infantryman and as a helicopter pilot,” Dane Hylen said.
Hylen, a veteran of Fort Drum, goes from the sky to the sea.
He is part of the American Odysseus Sailing Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps veterans with PTSD.
“What we do is we take them sailing,” he said. “It’s a form of adventure therapy.
And the adventure got much bigger.
“We just acquired another boat,” Hylen said. “We were given, a Swan 59, and we raced in the 2023 Ocean Globe Race. It’s a fully veteran crew. We have veterans from America, Canada, NATO countries in Europe, New Zealand, all over the world, and we’re going to be the only all-veteran crew in the race and we’re shooting a documentary at this subject.
The eight-month, 27,000-mile run isn’t just therapy for the veterans involved, it’s part of a larger mission to help the military.
“One of the things we’re doing with this race is we have a lobbyist who is going to help us after the race and with the documentary who is going to lobby for a bill in Congress to help bring adventure therapy to more veterans after deployment.”
It won’t be easy.
“So all boats have to be built before 1988,” Hylen said. “There’s no GPS, no phones, no computers, no radar, so everyone is going to be navigating via sextant and paper charts, so it’s going to be quite an adventure.”
But it will be worth it.
“What I’m most looking forward to is the documentary,” Hylen said, “raising awareness about PTSD and veteran suicide and taking real action to address this issue.”
The race kicks off in September 2023. In the meantime, Hylen and her team are training and fundraising.
Below are some links where you can find out more. You can also email Hylen at [email protected]
American Odysseus Sailing Foundation
AMOD Ocean Globe Race 2023
Donations AMOD Sailing
Ocean Globe Race 2023
Documentary “Hell or high seas”
Trailer “Hell or High Seas”
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