Rafting guide helps veterans cope with PTSD


Val Shaull has been leading rafting trips for veterans for 10 years

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Rafting guide Val Shaull has made it his mission to help veterans cope with PTSD in a unique way.

He’s been a guide for the national non-profit Team River Runner for 10 years and has been rafting since 1976.

Team River Runner creates paddling programs for service members and Schaull heads up the Portland chapter.

“When you’re out on the river you’re having fun, you can’t worry about things that happened in the past,” he said. “I enjoy it just as much as anything. Helping veterans gives me another level in life that if I can help somebody, it’s just the greater thing to do.”

The Gresham native and former firefighter can relate — he served two tours of duty in Vietnam.

During the summer, Shaull takes groups down the Deschutes River. But when the weather changes, he switches to the Willamette.

There are several upcoming paddling events, including one on October 4 that starts in Oregon City and includes a BBQ.

Team River Runner also offers sessions in a pool to help anyone who might not be as comfortable on the river.

You can still sign up for family paddles at eNRG Kayaking in Oregon City on Sept. 20 and Oct. 4. There is also a float from Dodge Park to Oxbow Park on the Sandy River on New Year’s Day with a BBQ.

If you’re interested in signing up, contact chapter coordinator Kay Sutherland at kay.sutherland@teamriverrunner.org

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