MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Picture yourself surviving on a 28-foot boat for nearly two months in the middle of the second-largest ocean in the world. A group of military veterans are doing just that and more for a great cause.
Fight Oar Die is a four-person, all-veteran rowing team that competes in the International Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. The race starts in the Canary Islands and ends in Antigua.
Since the beginning of the week, the Fight Oar Die team has been practicing for the race at the Buccaneer Yacht Club.
Mobile Native Brian Knight founded the non-profit in 2017 in order to raise awareness for U.S. veterans’ mental health.
Knight says he wanted to do something out of the ordinary to raise money, and what better way than rowing across a large body of water?
“It’s a great opportunity for these veterans to really get out there and challenge themselves to work as a team,” said Knight, a U.S. Army Special Forces Commander Veteran. “All of the things that they did when they were in the military, they can bring it over to the civilian side and do great things.”
The 2022 Fight Oar Die team is the third to compete in the challenge. They are crewing a solar-powered boat they named “Woobie” after the wool blanket issued to military men and women. The crew members all served together in Iraq together in 2008 as members of the U.S. Air Force Security Forces.
“What we do is we explore, we go do things, we try to teach other veterans that there’s more to life outside the military than just working a 9 to 5 you know,” said captain of the boat, Nick Rahn. “You can still actually find a purpose and help other people find theirs.”
Fight Oar Die also provides what they describe as mental health first aid training and educational grants to veterans and their families who are pursuing careers in the field of mental health.
“Being a part of Fight Oar Die, as an organization and what they offer the veteran community as means to get the help they need, spreading the knowledge of what veterans that are maybe in crisis need…that is why I wanted to be a part of it, to be a part of the solution,” said engineer of the boat, Tommy Hester.
On December 12, they will shove off towards this life-changing adventure. The rowing team’s goal is to complete the race in under 50 days.