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Team Wilderness


Ollie Hughes

About Me:

Ollie has been swinging a paddle since he was first introduced to the sport of whitewater kayaking in the mountains of Colorado in 1991. He spent most of that time enjoying and exploring the whitewater and touring kayak disciplines. He started kayak fishing while still on active duty in the US Army in 2006 while stationed in Texas. This quickly became his favorite way to enjoy the kayaking sport. He spent the following 5 years sharing his love of kayak fishing enthusiastically with his military peers as It became apparent to him the restorative and relaxing benefits of kayak fishing could help ease the damaging issues brought about by occupational stressors.

In 2011, Ollie was traumatically injured during his second deployment to Afghanistan as an Infantryman. He returned to the US uncertain how his injuries were going to effect his life. Kayak fishing and his military career were the at the top of his list of concerns. Never one to give up on a challenge without getting a little bloody, he incorporated both priorities into his ensuing 27 months of rehabilitation and physical therapy. It was during this period when he was first near enough to a Heroes On The Water chapter where he could finally volunteer with the organization that saw the same amazing potential in kayak fishing to help veterans. He continued to volunteer for additional positions with the organization during his rehabilitation in Texas and was proud to become a national ambassador for HOW where he attests to the successes and efficacy of the non-profit organization. The Army would eventually deny Ollie's request to remain on active duty and he was medically retired in August of 2013. Ollie returned with his wife and 5 children to his wife's home state of North Carolina where they both coordinate a local HOW chapter and mentor an additional 2 chapters in NC they had helped create. Ollie is also a self-employed furniture craftsman and youth sports coach for soccer and volleyball.