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Delray Beach man raises $16,000 for homeless vets with cross-state paddleboard trip

John Davidson finishes 155 mile journey
Posted at 5:00 PM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 11:17:03-04

A Delray Beach man took his hobby to the extreme and helped those who defended our freedom.

Paddleboarding is very popular in South Florida, but Delray resident John Davidson took it to the next level, paddling cross-state on a 155-mile trip.

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"Frankly, I'm just real anxious to get on with it," said Davidson as he was preparing for the trip.

He's making this challenging trip to raise money for the Stand Down House in Lake Worth, which helps homeless veterans.

“I'm no different from them. In a lot of ways I was very close to where they are now at a point in my life,” said Davidson, a four-year Marine veteran.

The trip started in Port St. Lucie, passed through the St. Lucie canal, then Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River to the Fort Myers area.

Stand Down House Executive Director Roy Foster said money raised will go a long way with a problem that doesn't seem to go away: homelessness among veterans.

"That pride, that esprit de corps that goes along with a veteran and to see them hopeless and helpless, that is one of those heart wrenching situations. It keeps me coming back every day," said Foster.

There are 16 men living at the Lake Worth Stand Down House facility, which can house up to 24.

Foster says donations will not only help that facility, but also get families of homeless veterans into permanent housing.

Foster also says Stand Down House workers come in contact with at least 1,000 homeless veterans in Palm Beach County each year.

Davidson said they are all worthy of help. 

"There's nobody, particularly a person who's served their country, who isn't worth a second, third or a fourth shot at having a happy and productive life," said Davidson.

Davidson finished his journey Wednesday September 7th. 

If you’d like to donate to Davidson’s cause, visit www.standown.org.

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