CSU veterans raft to find camaraderie

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CSU veterans rafted down the Poudre River to regain a sense of camaraderie last Saturday morning.

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The veterans, part of the the New Start program in the occupational therapy department at CSU, rafted with Rocky Mountain Adventures at a reduced cost on June 28.

“This was an awesome opportunity,” said Phillip Chavez, a 30-year-old veteran new to the New Start program. “Fellow veterans we able to bond  things that we miss about the military, like the way we are with each other, brotherhood. It’s a family.”

The New Start program, part of the Center for Community Partnerships in the department of occupational therapy, has been around since 1985 working with CSU students and the community.

The program focused on working with veterans that served after 9/11. Its mission is to help veterans achieve great things in school and life. It has grown to focus on college student veterans that struggle with physical challenges and post traumatic stress disorder.

“This is the toughest group of men and women I have ever met in my life,” said Kathy Schelly, director of the New Start program.

Jeff Schelly, 37, the son of Kathy Schelly, has been a raft guide with Rocky Mountain Adventures since 1996. He led one of two rafts filled with the veterans.

“I think it’s fun to work for ownership that supports the community and veterans,” Jeff said. “We get to expose people to rafting.”

Collegian Staff Reporter Dina Alibrahim Fike can be reached at news@collegian.com.