To improve the quality of life for disabled veterans through the practice of the sport and art of archery.
How we accomplish our mission?
We accomplish our mission through the use of Certified Archery Coaches, Professional Archers and Professional Adaptive Sports Coaches and Caretakers. We are developing a network of Training Partners who will provide our disabled veterans archery lessons, supplies, equipment, and archery recreational activities. Our Training Partners are carefully selected. The facilities they offer must be adaptive sports friendly venues where the vets can easily move about and feel comfortable while in training and practice in the development in their skills of archery.
Please let me introduce myself...
My name is Bob Crain and I am the founder of Arrows For Heroes. I am a Vietnam combat veteran having served from 1967 to 1971 as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot.
I have Parkinson's Disease which the Veterans Health Care system tells me was probably caused from my exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. As my symptoms began to worsen I convinced myself that my days of being physically active in any sport were coming to a close.
Then, one day a VA therapist suggested to me that I join her recreation therapy group of disabled veterans at their archery class. I thought to myself: “With my tremors? Are you kidding?” After some persistent prodding from her, I finally agreed to give it a try.
On my first day I was concerned I would have great difficulty just holding a bow and aiming down range. But the instructor was very patient with me and sensitive to my concerns. To my surprise I found out he too was a veteran, a retired Navy Corpsman. My stress subsided and I was able to focus as he patiently and skillfully taught me archery basics. During one of the lessons he taught me something very important: "Don't worry about your tremors when you aim. Just enjoy the moment of shooting the arrows." Those words got me into a zone that brought a new peace of mind. I found my hands to be more steady as my confidence increased with my new found skill. For the first time in many years I was being active in a sport and enjoying it with little or no stress.
After several sessions with our veteran group I got to know many of the other veterans with disabilities practicing archery. I heard them talk about what the sport has done for each of them personally. And many of the vets had far more disabling physical or mental issues than I have. But the common thread among all was that we were finding great enjoyment in the gathering to practice the sport of archery. The ability to zone out and feel relaxed while practicing archery seemed to be the experience of all. One veteran told me that while shooting his bow he found a sense of calm with a renewed ability to focus which he thought had been lost because of his combat TBI injuries. Hearing these comments from vets about what archery has done for them and had done for me is what got me to thinking about how can I get this successful "therapy" introduced to other disabled veterans.
In researching the use of archery as a recreation therapy activity for disabled veterans I found there were very few programs available in the VA health care system. For example, my local Dallas-Fort Worth VA has no source of funding or budget set aside for an archery recreation therapy program. As a result of my experience and research, I decided a private charity would be necessary with the mission of bringing the mental and physical health benefits of archery therapy to disabled veterans. Thus, Arrows For Heroes was born! We have started small here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area through a Texas formed 501c(3) non-profit corporation with a clear mission to improve the quality of life for disabled veterans through the practice of the sport and art of archery to disabled veterans.
Since our first Arrows For Heroes session in January, 2017, we have conducted 58 classes (through June, 2019) touching the lives of more than 638 disabled veterans.
I hope you will consider helping us bring archery to the many disabled veterans whose quality of life might be improved greatly through the introduction and practice of this sport. Your donation will be used to purchase training bows, arrows and basic archery equipment. We also try to provide travel and meals for participating veterans at sanctioned sport competitions for disabled veterans such as the Southwest Valor Games and the Southwest Paralympics Games. No compensation is paid to Arrows For Heroes volunteer staff or Board of Directors, so 100% of your donations go directly to the benefit of our participating disabled veterans.
If you would like to contribute to our effort by making a tax deductible donation, click here.