Army veteran paddling Susquehanna river for service dog group

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BINGHAMTON, NY – An Albany area man has embarked on an ambitious journey, to canoe the entire length of the Susquehanna River as a first-time paddler.

Jimmy Thomas of Balston Spa stopped off in Binghamton yesterday as he makes the 444 mile journey from Cooperstown to the Chesapeake Bay to raise money and awareness for Woofs for Warriors.

Woofs for Warriors is a non-profit that provides service dogs for military veterans suffering from PTSD or other mental health issues.

Thomas, who was a military police officer stationed in Germany from 1979 to 1983, received his dog Boots from the group.

He says Boots has managed to calm his stress and bring to an end a series of nighttime seizures he was suffering from.

Boots originally started the trip but had to quit due to the heat.

Thomas says he wants to give back to the organization that’s done so much for him.

“If this trip doesn’t do anything more than help one person, then I feel like it’s a successful trip. At least I hope I help one person, and I’m sure I will,” says Thomas.

Thomas is paddling a hybrid canoe/kayak that seats one and is lightweight.

He’s already has his share of misadventures, falling into 42 degree water on his first day and then cracking the bottom of his boat on Sunday.

Some helpful fellow paddlers helped him patch the leaks and yesterday he made it to Owego.

If you’d like to support his cause, go to WoofsforWarriors.org.

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