Yesterday, The Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum partnered with staff from The Veteran’s Administration to roll out its latest project, Warriors on the Water. The goal of the program is to introduce post 911 lower leg amputee vets to the sport of APBA Stock Outboard racing.
Our “pilot project” test was a proof-of-concept testing session using a Larry Darneille built laydown CSH hull (owned by Seattle Outboard Association Commodore Daren Goehring) on Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Little American Lake. We worked with two potential new drivers who both took turns putting the boat through its paces, playing “follow the leader” with SOA member Shane Burkhart in his boat. At the end of the day, we had two men who were VERY enthusiastic about getting into boat racing, and looking forward to getting their own boats and coming racing with us!
Dr. Jeffrey Heckman of the Seattle VA was present, and was very instrumental in getting this program going, along with racing great Chip Hanauer, who is a volunteer at the Seattle VA.
Going forward, HARM is looking into the possibilities of establishing a program similar to its successful J Hydro Project, where new racers would build and race their own boats, with assistance from Museum volunteers and local outboard racers.
A special thanks to all who helped make this day possible: Security Race Products, for building safety equipment for drivers at no cost; David Williams, Jim Mesick, Shane Burkhart, Jim Nilsen, Dr. Heckman, Chip Hanauer, Nick Ehli, Bud McKay, Doug Southern, and a number of others who showed up and lent their support to this effort. This program, though in its infancy, has the potential to be a HUGE win to APBA and all of boat racing!