The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs announced that USRowing has been awarded an Adaptive Sports Grant to support our community-based Freedom Rows programs throughout the United States for the 10th consecutive year. This year's grant of $488,000 will continue to support and develop rowing for our U.S. veterans. Freedom Rows, USRowing's national program dedicated to changing lives for veterans with disabilities and members of the armed forces, has been awarded grants of over $4 million since its inception in 2014. Now in its 10th year, Freedom Rows has grown from six programs to more than 35 serving an average of 1,000 veterans yearly. "What is remarkable about our 10-year anniversary is that we survived, learned to pivot our programming, and continued to flourish during and after Covid when so many programs shut down," said Deb Arenberg, USRowing Adaptive Programs Associate and Freedom Rows Coordinator. "USRowing coaches and volunteers found creative ways to connect with veterans virtually until we were able to meet face-to-face, with online meet-ups and virtual coaching. It is obvious how rowing is a touchstone for so many of us – especially for veterans – when it comes to our physical and mental health." The Adaptive Sports Grant Program provides grant funding to organizations to increase and expand the quantity and quality of adaptive sports activities for veterans with disabilities and members of the armed forces. Funding allows athletes to participate in physical activity within their home communities, as well as more advanced Paralympic and adaptive sports programs at the regional and national levels. "We are honored to be receiving an Adaptive Sport Grant from the U.S. Department of Veteran affairs for the 10th year in a row," said Amanda Kraus, USRowing CEO. "Through our partnership with the VA, the leadership of Deb Arenberg, and thanks to our Freedom Rows programs across the country, thousands of veterans have been able to experience the sport of rowing from the thrill of competing at the highest levels to the joy of connecting with the outdoors to the camaraderie and friendships built through the consummate team sport. We are grateful for the VA's continued support and look forward to providing even more meaningful opportunities in this milestone year." Grant funds will be used to continue existing Freedom Rows programming, build additional programs, send qualified athletes to competition, purchase needed adaptive rowing equipment, and supplement coaching fees. New Freedom Rows Programs include Tennessee's Nashville Rowing Club and Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center in Phoenix, Ariz. Participants in Freedom Rows programs have reached the elite level, with more athletes expected to compete in events including the Head of The Charles Regatta, San Diego Crew Classic, USRowing Indoor National Championship, and more. One Freedom Rows athlete – Russell Gernaat from Lake Casitas Rowing Club in California – competed at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and has raced at multiple world championships, including this year's in Belgrade, Serbia.