CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Sports can mean so many things to so many different people. To R.O.V.E.R., a local non profit aimed at helping veterans, sports is a way to reintegrate veterans after returning from active duty, because more often than not, that isn't an easy process.
R.O.V.E.R. stands for Regional Outreach Veterans Engagement Resources. Simply put, they're showing disabled vets there's life after battle and they're doing it through recreational sports like sailing.
R.O.V.E.R. Vice President Jeremy Bryson said, "we want to try and break the cycle. our motto is off the couch and out of the house."
To most "off the couch and out of the house" is an easy task, but to some who fought for our freedom, tasks like that are a challenge.
A challenge that took local disabled veteran Benny Alicea five plus years to complete.
"Ever since 2010 to present day, I stayed a sheltered life. Stayed in the house, got my mail, saw my dogs. Other than that I wouldn't go anywhere or do anything," said Alicea.
After two tours in Iraq, Benny was medically discharged with PTSD. His first social activity since then was a sailing camp in Hixson organized by R.O.V.E.R.
Alicea said, "it's a lot easier for someone like me to call it quits, just stay in the house and not even try. I never knew I would love to sail but I'm loving it more and more."
Bryson said, "To hear Benny's story and some of the guys just like him. To know that they came out, trusted us, they're having fun. That's what puts a smile on my face."
Alicea is no longer a sheltered team of one. That's because with R.O.V.E.R. they believe sports and military go hand in hand. The common link is camaraderie.
Bryson said, " that's what sports does, it brings you back to working as a team and knowing that you're part of something."
In addition to the week long adaptive sailing boot camp, R.O.V.E.R. is also hosting a 14-team seated volleyball tournament. You can go cheer them on Saturday at Maclellan gym at 9:00 a.m.
To get hooked up with R.O.V.E.R. visit their website by clicking here