COCONUT GROVE, Fla. – It’s not every day you see a group of men paddle on canoe from Key West to Fort Pierce, but for this group of veterans, it’s an honor.
Local non-profit Beyond the Teams consists of a group of U.S. Navy SEAL veterans who take on challenges to raise money for charities associated with the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce.
Their latest challenge? Traveling from Key West all the way to Fort Pierce via canoe.
“If it was easy we wouldn’t be doing it,” says former Navy SEAL Mike Charbonnet.
Paddling 300 miles certainly isn’t easy.
“We are paddling from Key West to Fort Pierce to raise money for the four charities that are run by the Navy SEAL Museum,” says Charbonnet.
The charities include scholarships, a respite house, K-9s, and medical assistance for Navy SEAL veterans and their families.
“It’s really incredible to see these guys out there on the ocean paddling,” says supporter of Beyond the Teams, Zach Mann. “To think that many of them are over 60 years old and their experience from the military and their training has allowed them to continue to be physically fit to do this type of mission.”
Local 10 caught the team just as they left, Friday, May 28, from Coconut Grove on an outrigger canoe.
In their latest challenge, there are two, six-man teams who swap out every 45 minutes for six hours a day until they reach the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce on Memorial Day. It’s one of many efforts and impressive physical feats Beyond the Teams organizes to raise money for their charities.
“It’s the unique unusual character of what we’re doing that draws attention to the cause,” explains Charbonnet.
According to participants, the organization is vital for the families of those who lay their lives down for their country.
“This is why we came to do this,” says Charbonnet. “So we could get to the end and say, ‘Yeah we did it. What’s next?’”