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For the second consecutive year, USRowing has been honored with a grant from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.  USRowing is the national governing body over the sport of rowing in the United States.  These funds will allow rowing programs around the country to continue to provide adaptive rowing opportunities for disabled Veterans and members of the armed services through USRowing’s Freedom Rows program.  In 2014, 7 rowing programs were selected for the initial grant program, with Oklahoma City the only city in the South to receive funding.  By comparison this year, 14 additional rowing organizations were selected as recipients – including 5 in Texas and 2 in Dallas.  Adaptive rowing in Texas is now officially on the national map!

The 2015 grant totals $299,000, an increase of almost $50,000 from 2014.  The funds will continue to allow boathouses across the country to open their doors to Veterans seeking adaptive rowing so that the many benefits of rowing are available to athletes from all walks of life.

“Through this partnership with the VA, the sport of rowing has been made more accessible to people who know the value of teamwork and what it takes to overcome great adversity,” said USRowing Chief Executive Officer Glenn Merry.  “We are happy to be able to expand the reach of USRowing to a larger community of Veterans.”

The Grants for Adaptive Sports Programs for Disabled Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces (ASG Program) provides grant funding to organizations to increase and expand the quantity and quality of adaptive sport activities for disabled Veterans and members of the armed forces.  It furthers the opportunity to participate in physical activity within their home communities, as well as allows for more advanced Paralympic and adaptive sport programs at the regional and national levels.

“Dallas United is honored to receive funding through this partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and USRowing.  The enthusiasm of our Veterans for the sport of rowing was a highlight of our participation in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games this past summer in Dallas, partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and USRowing,” said Dallas United Crew President Belinda McDonnell.  “Dallas has the 4th largest metropolitan area in the United States and the 2nd largest VA Medical Center in the country.  So the city is strongly positioned to serve our adaptive Veterans, and it makes sense that two programs in Dallas were chosen as grant recipients.  This grant will provide additional equipment for our adaptive fleet and adaptive training for our coaches and volunteers.  Our goal is to broaden the program offerings for our Veterans and to offer a pathway for those interested in pursuing Paralympic training.  This is a big win for our Veterans, for the city of Dallas, and for the state of Texas!”

Through the grant funds, USRowing will partner with VA rehabilitation hospitals and USRowing member organizations across the country, including the 7 existing programs and 14 new programs.

Existing Programs

  • Los Gatos, CA - Los Gatos Rowing Club – Palo Alto VA
  • San Diego, CA - San Diego Rowing Club – San Diego VA
  • Denver, CO - Longmont Rowing Club – Denver VA
  • Boston, MA - Community Rowing, Inc. – Boston VA
  • Detroit, MI - Detroit Boat Club – Detroit VA
  • Raleigh, NC - Raleigh-Durham Crew – Durham VA
  • Oklahoma City, OK - OKC Warriors – Oklahoma City VA

New Programs

  • Tuscaloosa, AL - University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa VA
  • Stockton, CA - Delta Sculling Center – Modesto Vet Center
  • West Haven, CT - West Haven Rowing Club – Connecticut VA
  • Washington, DC - Anacostia Boathouse – MedStar Rehabilitation Hospital  AND  Capital Rowing Club – Walter Reed Hospital
  • Cape Cod, MA - Cape Cod Freedom Rows – Spaulding Rehab, Kaehler Clinic Joint Base Cape Cod, VA-Hyannis, Mashpee
  • Barrington, RI - East Bay Rowing Club – Providence VA
  • Austin, TX - Texas Rowing Center – Center for Intrepid
  • Dallas, TX - Dallas United Crew – Dallas VA North Texas  AND  White Rock Rowing – Dallas VA North Texas
  • Houston, TX - Unlimited Rowing – DeBakey Medical Center
  • San Antonio, TX - Central Texas VA
  • Seattle, WA - Pocock Rowing Center – Puget Sound VA  AND  Seize the Oar Racing Team – Puget Sound VA

“As someone who gets to work with these people first-hand,” said Adaptive Programs Specialist Debbie Arenberg, “nothing is more exciting for me than to see a person’s eyes light up and the huge smile they have when they are back on the water, perhaps for the first time since they were injured in combat.”

“Rowing benefits injured Veterans in so many ways besides the more obvious physical ones. Our job is to adapt the equipment so even those with a high level of injury can participate, and for too many this might be the first or only real intense form of exercise they’ve been able to participate in previous to their injuries,” continued Arenberg.  “The competitions also allow them to contribute to the final outcome, to be a part of a team, and provide a spirit of friendship and socialization that is often missing in the isolation that results in the life of an injured vet.  We are honored and thankful to have received this grant for another year and consider it a privilege to be able to introduce rowing to the men and women who have served our country.”

“Adaptive sports help Veterans heal both physically and emotionally,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald in a press release announcing the grant awards.  “We are proud to partner with organizations nationwide to provide these rehabilitative opportunities to America’s Veterans.”

In addition to the 21 Freedom Rows programs, USRowing will be conducting outreach efforts at other VA hospitals and through Veteran sports events throughout the country such as the Valor Games and Gateway for Gold.

The VA will distribute the total grant of $8 million to 89 national, regional and community programs serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.  Approximately 10,000 Veterans and service members are expected to benefit.

For more information on joining Dallas United Crew’s programs for our Veterans and adaptive rowing, please contact Chuck Mueller, LTC, US Army, Ret. / DUC Chair for Outreach Programs, or John Gartin, DUC Program Director,

About Dallas United Crew

Transforming Lives.   DUC has been building community and promoting fitness and teamwork on White Rock Lake since 2002, offering a variety of rowing and dragon boating programs for adults and youth that strengthen participants both mentally and physically.  To learn more, visit  DUC is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. 

But We Can Do More.  A capital campaign is currently underway to raise funds to build a new Community Boathouse on White Rock Lake, making oar and paddle sports accessible to an even broader audience including those with disabilities.  Visit the DUC website for more information.



Lisa W. Miller, Media Relations / 214-968-1402 /