Man paddling down Mississippi for veterans

Paddling for Patriots

CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - A man on a mission, Greg Nejnamowski is taking on a challenge many would find crazy, paddling down the entirety of the Mississippi River in a kayak.

He said he’s not just doing it for himself, but to raise awareness and funds for veterans back home.

Nejnamoski is a coordinator for Veteran Adventures, an organization based out of SIUC that organizes a vast variety of outdoor recreational activities to help men and women who have served get used to life back home.

His journey down the Mississippi is called Paddle for Patriots. Nejnamowski said Veterans Adventures was funded last year by a grant they didn’t receive this year. He came up with the idea as another way to raise that money.

“I believe so strongly in the outdoors, and adventure, and in challenge that it’s inspired me to wake up every day and do nothing but paddle and paddle and paddle,” he said.

He said he started on May 26 in Minnesota and has currently passed five states.

To ensure the success of his journey, his kayak is stocked with everything he needs. Including spare paddles, a radio, a GPS locator that people can track his progress with, and his camping gear.

Midwest flooding has been on Nejnamoski’s mind during his journey. He’s well aware of the devastation so many are facing with it. However, for his purposes, the floodwaters are helping.

“It seems like a lot of motor boats, recreational boaters, have pulled their boats off the water. So there’s less traffic," he said, “the high water levels have been creating great currents for me to keep a good pace and cover some distance.”

Currently, Nejnamoski is taking a short break in southern Illinois so he can meet with a number of supporters, including U.S. Rep Mike Bost.

On Saturday, July 13, from noon to 3 p.m., Nejnamoski will be in Chester, Illinois at Saint Nicholas Landmark to raise awareness for Paddle for Patriots. At the event, 10% of all proceeds from the restaurant will go directly to the cause.

If you would like to donate to Paddle for Patriots, you can click here to do so.

His goal is $25,000.

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