News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Top Story 3

February 18, 2014

Video: Navy veteran recounts tale of kayak trip

Bedwell is first to make blind, solo trip of entire length of Grand Canyon

TERRE HAUTE — Sharing his story is exciting for a Dugger man who made history by becoming the first blind solo kayaker to travel the entire length of the Grand Canyon.

Lonnie Bedwell told the Terre Haute Rotary Club on Tuesday about his experience learning to kayak, and why he chose to make the journey down the Colorado River, accompanied by a support crew from Team River Runner.

“To me, you can live in fear and pity, and do nothing, or, you can just live. I have chosen to live life,” said Bedwell, who lost his eyesight in May 1997 in a hunting accident when a friend shot him in the face.

At the time, Bedwell had served nine years in the U.S. Navy. His prior military service made him a candidate for Team River Runner, which gives active duty service members and veterans an opportunity to find health, healing and new challenges through whitewater boating and other paddling sports.

Bedwell has worked with the Terre Haute chapter of TRR, located at Indiana State University’s Sycamore Outdoor Center, where he learned how to handle a kayak despite his disability.

He made the 16-day journey through the Grand Canyon in August 2013. But it was 16 years ago that he lost his sight, and he had gained confidence in his own abilities during that time to feel that he could make the hazardous and physically demanding trip.

At all times while he was in the water, he was surrounded by a team of paddlers and followed by four support rafts. Through their verbal commands, Bedwell was able to navigate the entire trip, and he ended up swimming outside of his kayak only on two occasions near the end of the trip.

After losing his sight, Bedwell said, he was frustrated that he couldn’t maintain his property as he had in the past. It was his 5-year-old daughter who took him to his lawnmower, guided him to his barn and watched as he drove around the barn with one hand touching the wall of the structure while he mowed down the weeds.

Later that day, he said, his father got mad at him for taking on the lawn mowing, but Bedwell pointed out the faith of his youngest daughter, who knew he could still do anything he wanted to do. Bedwell said his other two daughters quickly caught on to challenge their father and help him do regular activities.

“Those three little girls refused to let me quit,” he said. “Just to know somebody believes in you makes all the difference in the world. And that’s what Team River Runners does for me.”

Bedwell said he met the organization’s leader several months ago, but neither one of them dreamed that Bedwell would end up kayaking the Grand Canyon as soon as August 2013. He did a lot of training on his own and with the local TRR group. In addition to kayaking, Bedwell has ridden a bike across the Rocky Mountains and gone mountain climbing.

“Seventeen years ago, I never dreamed of doing any of this kind of stuff. Impossible. Yet, it’s coming true,” he said.

His next challenge is to solo hang glide, he said. And he will likely accompany other disabled veterans on kayaking adventures.

Bedwell said he enjoys sharing his story. He hopes it inspires others and that it builds support for Team River Runner and other organizations that assist disabled veterans.

He summed up his feelings about his experiences this way:

“When a tough part comes up in someone’s life, it’s like, you’ve been dropped behind this big wall, and you’re just stuck,” he explained. “And then this organization comes along, and people financially support it, and that puts a door in the wall. And then, you can go through that door to the other side and start to live again.”

But that, he said, is not the best part of the experience.

“When the time is right, people go back through that door, to get someone else, and bring them through that door, too. That’s why I support this so much, because I have literally watched this happen time and again,” Bedwell said.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Story 3
  • Braves Dodgers Baseba_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 30:

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clippers Sterling Bas_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 29:

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • US Exporting Pollution 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 28:

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • holiday world thunderbird.jpg Holiday World plans new winged roller coaster

    SANTA CLAUS, Ind. (AP) — The Holiday World amusement park in southern Indiana is building a new $22 million roller coaster that it says will launch riders to 60 miles an hour in 3.5 seconds, with a 14-story loop and four inversions.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rethinking Pot HOAs_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 25:

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rick Perry Tech Fund 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 24:

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast Kerry US Israel-Palestine 10 Things to Know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 23:

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Health Overhaul Subsi_Ter .jpg Obamacare hit by ruling, but subsidies to continue

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court delivered a potentially serious setback to President Barack Obama’s health care law today, imperiling billions of dollars in subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who bought policies.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Britain Prince George 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 22:

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Western Wildfires 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 21:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • broadwaycrash.JPG UPDATE: Inspection on Monday for Brazil church bus involved in fatal crash

    A full bus inspection will be conducted Monday on a Brazil church bus involved in a fatal crash Thursday evening in Knoxville, Tenn.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Mideast Islamic State 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 18:

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • broadwaycrash.JPG Brazil church group in bus crash

    One person is dead after a four-vehicle crash Thursday afternoon in Knoxville, Tenn., involving a church bus from Brazil.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • APTOPIX Mideast Israe_Morg.jpg 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 071609 BLUEBERRIES.jpg Scoop up some blueberries, live music

    Terre Foods Cooperative Market will present the sixth annual Blueberry Festival from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, at Central Presbyterian Church, 125 N. Seventh St.
    Blueberry compote sundaes will be available for $5.

    July 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Japan Nuclear_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 16:

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Parmalee FLC No Type.jpg Hi-99 Summer Bash today at Fairbanks Park

    Country group Parmalee and Clare Dunn are scheduled to appear at Fairbanks Park tonight as part of the annual Hi-99 Summer Bash.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Immigration Overload _Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 15.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Comics-Archie Death_Morg.jpg 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Solar Roadways_Morg.jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Emmy Nominations_Ter .jpg ‘Game of Thrones’ earns a leading 19 Emmy nods

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The sprawling and bloodthirsty saga “Game of Thrones,” defying the Emmy Awards’ grudging respect for such fantasy fare, emerged as the leader in the nominations announced today with 19 bids, including best drama series.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071014 meth lab items.jpg Police bust meth lab in Terre Haute

    Police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab today in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Soccer World Cup Argentina-Netherlands 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 10:

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Germany Soccer WCup 10 Things to Know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 9:

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • 051713 BAYH SMILE.jpg Former governor Bayh weighs decision to run again

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.
    Party loyalists longing for a political savior to retake the governor's office have been waiting on Bayh ever since he abruptly decided to leave the U.S. Senate and political life three years ago.

    July 8, 2014 3 Photos

  • Seeing Eye Ring 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, July 8:

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Britain Wimbledon 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, July 7:

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • photo.JPG UPDATE: Coroner releases cause of death

    Carbon monoxide poisoning was the cause of death for a resident of Deming Center whose body was found Thursday night inside his apartment.

    July 5, 2014 3 Photos 2 Stories

  • Tropical Weather_Morg.jpg 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • bash73bigger.jpg ’BASH: Fireworks to light up Wabash Valley

    There's lots to choose from this year as every county in the Wabash Valley offers Fourth of July activities. Check out our list!

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Earthquake Rocks Mexico's Gulf Coast Raw: NH Man Held on $1M in Teen's Kidnapping Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Broken Water Main Floods UCLA "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH)
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity