NewsRegion St Lucie CountyFort Pierce

Actions

Team of former Navy Seals paddling from Key West to Fort Pierce raising money for charities

300-mile journey will end at Navy Seal Museum
Navy Seals.PNG
Posted at 9:43 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 16:38:51-04

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — They're known for the most secretive missions in the U.S. military.

Books have been written and movies directed showcasing what many consider the tip of the military sword: the Navy Seals.

Now, a six-man team of former Seals is on a different mission.

They are paddling from Key West to Fort Pierce raising money for charities like the Navy Seal Museum family support scholarship fund, Trident House and more.

WPTV interviewed two members of the team from Key Largo.

They paddled 50 miles a day in an outrigger, making stops in the Keys before making their way to Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast this Memorial Day weekend.

It's a 300-mile journey.

"It's been going unbelievably well and it's been going and it's been going kind of tough," Michael Charbonnet said.

Charbonnet and fellow retired Navy Seal Conrad Kress said the team has paddled through a lot of headwinds and some rough seas.

"When you have to do that gut-check when things are kind of not going as you hoped, that helps keep you focused, the people that are benefiting from it," Kress said.

Many of these Seals have known each other for years.

Helping charities that benefit families of fallen or injured Navy Seals means a lot to this team.

"Life takes us many different directions, but there's still that sense of brotherhood, the comradery," he added.

Michael Charbonnet and Conrad Kress
Michael Charbonnet and Conrad Kress are part of a team of former Navy Seals who are paddling from Key West to the Navy Seal Museum in Fort Pierce.

The youngest person paddling on this boat is 46.

It's something the team jokes about.

"We're back together," Kress said. "We're not 60-year-old grandpas anymore. We're these 20-year-old guys ripping it and having a good time."

When fatigue sets in for the team, they remember how much training and preparation they've had for this journey.

"Working with people who don't see a challenge as a reason to stop," Charbonnet said. "They see a challenge as an opportunity to move, an opportunity to accomplish."

The team has four stops in the WPTV viewing area.

Friday, they stop in Boca Raton at the Waterstone Resort and Marina. Saturday they'll be at Square Grouper in Jupiter.

Sunday they stop at Lil' Jims in Fort Pierce and then Memorial Day they arrive at the Navy Seal Museum in Fort Pierce.

The events are open to the public.

It's that last stop that will be special for these men.

On Memorial Day, seven names of fallen Navy Seals will be etched into the wall of honor at the museum.

It's a tribute that will surely keep this team going for their next journey.

The team has raised $75,000 since opening up donations in April.

To learn how to donate, click here.