Monday, May 29, 2023

Weir: Heroes On The Water

Bob Weir and Captain “Chris” Hampton (Photo and video by Netsky Rodriguez)

Captain “Chris” Hampton is a native of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. He was commissioned through the Navy ROTC Program at the University of Oklahoma, in December 1983. His Navy specialty is a Surface Warfare Officer which means he is a “ship driver.” He is a proud Destroyer sailor and spent much of the decade of the 1980’s and early 90’s tracking Russian submarines in virtually every ocean on the planet.

He is a veteran of the actions against Libya in 1986 and three tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During the initial phase of the conflict in Iraq, Captain Hampton served with the Staff of Carrier Strike Group One aboard the USS CONSTELLATION (CV-64).  His second mission he was assigned to Multi-National Corps – Iraq (MNCI), Civil Military Operations Directorate. His third mission was the Director of Operations for the Task Force to Improve Business and Stability Operations in Iraq based in Baghdad, Iraq.

Captain Hampton’s decorations include The Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Navy Commendation Medal. Captain Hampton retired from the naval service in 2010 and makes his home in Flower Mound.

According to a 2009 Rand Study, 300,000+ warriors have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); 320,000+ have Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI); 31,902 have visible wounds.

In 2007, Heroes on the Water (HOW) was founded as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to provide free-of-charge kayak fishing experiences for veterans, first responders and their families. The numbers continue to rise but from inception to August 2017, HOW has:

  • 70+ Chapters across 36 states and growing
  • Affiliates in Australia & United Kingdom
  • Served 38,500+ veterans
  • Served 7,500+ family members
  • 23,500+ dedicated volunteers across the nation

In serving our nation’s heroes, HOW became the largest kayak fishing organization in the world!

Chris Hampton has been a volunteer and participant with Heroes on the Water for over six years. He was introduced to the organization by a business contact that was volunteering for the organization. As an “old sailor” Chris quickly saw the joy this organization brings by being out on the water especially with other veterans. In 2017 he was asked by the founder to help start a new chapter in the DFW area to serve the veteran population in Tarrant county and west.   Chris helped establish what is now known as the Brazos River Valley (Fort Worth) Chapter and serves as the chapter Secretary/Treasurer. The Chapter is led by the Husband and Wife team of Jeremy and Katie Fry.

HOW started as a grassroots effort in 2007. The Founder, Jim Dolan, and a few friends went out kayak fishing with veterans from Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC). One gentleman had Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and a speech impediment.

After a few hours on the water in a kayak, that veteran walked up to everyone and was able to speak clearly. His response was “I’ve been at BAMC going to all kinds of therapy for 2 years. In just a few hours, I was able to do what I couldn’t do in 2 years. Now, I have hope.

This was the “Aha!” moment when Jim realized he couldn’t explain what happened, but he needed to keep putting heroes in kayaks. For more info:

Bob Weir
Bob Weir
Bob Weir is a former NYPD officer, long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor.

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