Military Outreach USA, a national not-for profit organization serving United States military veterans, will partner with Mercury Marine, the Chicago Park District and five Chicago-area yacht clubs to honor U.S. veterans by offering them a chance to spend some time on the water Sunday, July 1. That means some 250 veterans reached through various organizations in Chicago area will enjoy a free day of powerboating and sailing on Lake Michigan.
The news was announced in a press release from the Fond du Lac, Wis., marine engine and accessories company.
Thanks to Chicago-area yachts clubs, Military Outreach USA and Mercury Marine, 250 veterans will take to the water on July 1.
Boat owners from five Chicago-area yacht clubs— Burnham Park Yacht Club, Chicago Yacht Club, Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club, Columbia Yacht Club and Jackson Park Yacht Club—will pilot their vessels with veterans onboard as part of the Military Outreach USA organization’s inaugural “Veterans Boating Day.” The event will begin at Burnham Park with a lunch, after which the participants will be transported to the local yacht clubs. After several hours on the lake, the group will return to Burnham Park for entertainment and other events.
“We hope to encourage veterans to enjoy the therapeutic value of boating, while meeting and getting to know others in their community,” said Joe Gross, partner development director for Military Outreach, in the release. “In the case of formerly homeless veterans, for example, it provides the opportunity to socialize and re-establish and develop their socialization skills. We also believe the event will help to create further awareness of the issues affecting veterans and the military community.
“We are particularly pleased that this inaugural event has engendered the support of not only Mercury Marine and the Chicago Park District, but also the scores of Chicago boaters who willingly have volunteered their time and craft for such a worthwhile event,” he added.
Founded in 2010, Military Outreach USA “provides resources and support to caring partners who envision a nation where no one in the military community lacks the mental, spiritual, physical or material support needed to live a full and productive life,” according to the release. Since 2016, the organization assisted nearly 31,300 veterans and helped coordinate local drives to collect nearly 770,000 essential items, including 1,000 beds, needed by veterans “who are moving into housing after being homeless.”
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