On June 6th of 2015, Navy Veteran Chris Ring started to swim. His starting point was Lake Itasca, Minnesota, and his goal is Mile Marker 0, where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico. That’s 2,552 miles, and will total out to six months of swimming an average of 14 miles per day. And it’s all in the name of remembering our fallen heroes.
Having been honorably discharged after 10 years of service in both Iraq and Afghanistan, his goal is to help preserve the legacies of those who lost their lives for our country. He volunteered with Legacies Alive, a non-profit that seeks to strengthen and support Gold Star families, which are families who have lost loved ones who were actively and honorably serving in the US Armed Forces. Each year, Legacies Alive rolls out a Legacy Challenge, which pushes physical and mental challenges to the extreme, and brings national awareness to its mission. This year’s challenge was created by Ring, who is attempting to become the first American to swim the entire length of the Mississippi River.
Amy Garber, a Gold Star Family member from Brainerd, MN, was connected to National Pro Team member Jason Durham who encouraged her to reach out to Crestliner to see if we could help Chris reach his goal. “We felt that as they made their way down the river, they would need a boat that was safe and reliable,” she said. “You were the only boat company that believed enough to come alongside Chris and Legacies Alive.”
And come alongside we did. Before they reached out to Crestliner, Chris and his team were using a simple kayak to help him along the way. It was clear they needed something safer and able to handle whatever the treacherous waters of the Mississippi could throw at them. Now with a brand new 2016 VT 18 as a chase vehicle, the team uses GPS coordinates to mark entrance and exit points during his daily swims and can use it as a reliable method of extraction when a safe exit might be unreachable. We know that this craft will be as resilient as Chris is, and are honored to be a part of such a remarkable journey.
For more information on Chris and his challenge, you can follow the Legacies Alive Facebook Page for updates, and learn more about the organization on their website.