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‘James River Relief’ returns to give hospital workers healing on the water

The James River Association & Outfitter Partners are offering free paddle trips to hospital workers as part of the program.

Trevor Dickerson

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Last summer, as Covid-19 quarantined the country and social gatherings were brought to an abrupt halt, healthcare workers carried on through unprecedented challenges, battling a global pandemic and putting their lives on the line daily.

As a small gesture of thanks for the incredible service of our Virginia healthcare heroes, the James River Association (JRA) launched James River Relief in June 2020, a program providing free paddle trips to hospital workers in the James River watershed. Within 24 hours of the program launch, the first round of 100 paddle trips had been given away, signaling a great demand for healthcare staff to find much-needed respite by connecting with the river.

James River Relief is back for the 2021 river season, thanks to the generosity of donors who gave funds to support the program. The program will again provide more than 100 paddle trips & rental options to doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff through partnering with several regional outfitters.

“We were thrilled to give away more than 100 trips last summer to hospital workers in the James River watershed” said Bill Street, CEO for the James River Association. “We are excited to bring this program back, and grateful to partner with several outfitters in various locations on the James, to provide a break on the water offering solace, relaxation, and enjoyment on our beautiful river.”

Outfitter partners include RVA Paddlesports and Crosswind Paddle Company in Richmond, James River Reeling & Rafting in Scottsville, and Rivanna River Company in Charlottesville. The program will also provide trips through JRA’s outfitter, James River Adventures in Lynchburg, and through JRA’s Connect with the James programs in Greater Richmond and James City County.

“We had a wonderful time floating”, said Leora Brown, a healthcare worker at Sentara Careplex Hospital who took a trip through the program at James River Reeling & Rafting last summer. “It was a much-needed break from work and the quarantine life for my family! We look forward to doing this again!”

Hospital workers can sign up for a free paddle by filling out a form on JRA’s website. They are asked to provide their name, address, and the hospital where they work. After they sign up, they are emailed with further details, plus a code to book their trip or rental for free.

To learn more about James River Relief and to share this opportunity with hospital workers in the James River watershed, visit thejamesriver.org/james-river-relief.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.