Boating For A Cause

Every summer brings a crop of Mississippi River trippers going downriver. They travel alone, in pairs or in teams, by canoe, kayak, motorboat, houseboat and just about every other type of vessel. Commercial river pilot Joey Cargol took a 73-year-old canoe down the river.

They often start from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, but some start from the Twin Cities. Many are drawn by the lure of challenge and personal adventure; boating the Mississippi remains a popular “bucket list” item.

Many besides Erich Mische, however, are also promoting or raising money for a charity. Getting one or more sponsors to donate something for each mile you traverse can not only raise money for good causes, but can defray the expenses of the trip.

Boating or rafting down the Mississippi River is challenging enough by itself, even for a fit, healthy adult. This summer, retired 80-year-old veteran Stanley Stark has kayaked down the river, starting at Lake Itasca in mid-July. Stark is raising money for a nonprofit homeless shelter and expects to be back at his home in Gulfport, Miss., in mid-October.

Nick Denofre, who is canoeing downriver in a 17-foot-long canoe with his wife Christa and his dog Marci, is raising money for Courage Incorporated, based in Michigan. The organization helps disabled veterans and adults become one with nature. Nick is not a veteran, but he was born without legs and hopes to set an inspiring example of following your dreams.

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