Rio Grande Man Kayaking Hundreds of Miles for Vets

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RIO GRANDE, N.J. -

A Cape May County, N.J., man is setting out on a trek of a lifetime this weekend. Denis Carmody, of Rio Grande, will travel hundreds of miles through three states and it’s all for a cause close to his heart.

“Without me getting too emotional, a good friend of mine, Don Miano, is suffering from Parkinson’s disease due to excessive exposure to Agent Orange when serving our country in Vietnam,” says Carmody.

So, because of what his friend was going through he decided to embark on a long but rewarding journey.

“What I'm doing is raising money and doing a solo endurance kayak trip," says Carmody. "[It will be] 444 miles starting in Cooperstown, New York on Saturday morning at 7 a.m."

He hopes to average around 20 miles a day, which would have him making it down the Susquehanna River, to where he’ll end the trek in Maryland, in about a month.

“My four daughters are worried obviously," says Carmody. "My wife is very concerned. But, it’s not like I’m going away to war, [but] that’s what I’m doing this for, the guys who did go away to war.”

But 70-year-old Carmody says he’s ready to pack up his 16 half-foot kayaks and get paddling.

“I’m going to be self-camping all the way," says Carmody. "I have a hammock. I have a small tent. I have all kinds of dehydrated food, small kitchen, water, water filter, safety equipment, first aid kit.”

He's as prepared as he can be.

“It’s very hard to control nature," says Carmody. "I’ll be on the water going down river, that I know. Everything else I don’t.”

To help with expenses for the journey he started a GoFundMe page. He says friends and family generously donated enough for his trip. Carmody plans on giving the rest to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, an organization that dedicates all of its proceeds to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease. 

I’ll be on the water going down river, that I know. Everything else I don’t.

Since he’ll be alone out on the water, Carmody’s made it easy for anyone to check and see where he’s at during the 444-mile journey.

“Automatically, every 30 minutes, it’ll be bouncing off the satellite so people can follow me on Google Maps and that’s part of the KayaksforHeros.com website,” says Carmody.

He’ll be bringing along a solar panel that was donated to keep his phone charged and him connected.

“I was blessed with a medical condition and I didn’t have to go in the service," says Carmody. "What they did for me, allowing me to have a wonderful wife and four daughters, 13 grand kids. That wouldn’t have happened. I’m blessed and I’m thankful to be here. It’s my little way of giving back.”

Carmody leaves early Friday morning to drive up to Cooperstown, New York, so he can start his 444-mile trip Saturday morning. 


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