Group offers paddle trips to health care workers

Published 4:57 am Thursday, July 1, 2021

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Last summer, as COVID-19 quarantined the country and social gatherings were brought to an abrupt halt, health care 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 health care 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 trip and rental options to doctors, nurses and other hospital staff through partnering with several regional outfitters.

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“We were thrilled to give away more than 100 trips last summer to hospital workers in the James River watershed” Bill Street, CEO for the James River Association, said. “We are excited to bring this program back and are 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.”

“We had a wonderful time floating,” Leora Brown, a health care worker at Sentara Careplex Hospital, said. She took a trip through the program at James River Reeling and Rafting last summer. “It was a much-needed break from work and the quarantine life for my family.”

To learn more about James River Relief and to share this opportunity with hospital workers in the James River watershed, visit