In December of 2020, we introduced you to four men who are pulling hard to help address the tragic issue of veteran suicide. Billy Cimino, Cameron Hansen, A.M. “Hupp” Huppmann, and Paul Lore – all veterans themselves – are FOAR from Home and will be rowing across the Atlantic as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. The team is raising funds for Cross the Line Foundation and K9s for Warriors, two organizations dedicated to fighting veteran suicide.
As the race draws closer, the four are preparing for the reality of 40 or 50 days at sea in an open boat. In a recent conversation, they described the preparations underway and their training routine. Hupp used the term, “training evolutions,” to describe their work together.
Many people view success as binary. You either succeed or you fail. By breaking training tasks into small steps and focusing on each one, success and learning can become much more granular. As Lore pointed out, Nick Saban, head coach of the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide, is the king of this approach. “Focus on the process,” said Lore.
The team had the opportunity to put this philosophy into practice during a recent 24-hour training session. They had set themselves a number of ambitious goals, including having the boat in the water for a full day/night cycle, and rowing a set distance.
To meet those objectives, the team broke the tasks into steps: get the boat off the trailer, affix the rudder onto the boat, get the boat into the water, practice cooking and cleaning, sleeping in shifts, etc. At the end of the evolution, the team didn’t hit their distance mark but they accomplished 95 percent of all their goals. That made this training a success.
Another example of the team’s approach to breaking complex systems into simple parts is their roles and responsibilities. Each member of the crew has well-defined and discrete roles to play. While Paul is the skipper, others are focused on a variety of tasks, including making fresh water, keeping the boat’s solar array clean and operational, and managing food and power consumption.
Now everyone has to pull hard and together, and sometimes go outside of their comfort zone. Fundraising, for example, is everyone’s responsibility. These tried and true friends have proven to be great fundraisers, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t moments of butterflies.
Hupp described an occasion Billy went that extra mile. He had been tasked with dropping a fundraising appeal in the mailbox of famed-author and local resident, John Grisham. When he parked and approached the house, however, he spotted Grisham in the driveway and decided to make a personal appeal. The result was a generous donation, as well as a note thanking the four for their work. This, when shared on social media, led to others giving too.
The team’s fundraising creativity doesn’t end there. One of the highlights of last year’s holiday season was an event at a local distillery. They chose the space because it included an outdoor area and ample room for social distancing. The boat was on the scene and the party was a rousing success – both as a celebration and as a fundraiser. As one attendee put it, “You had the holiday party no one had.”
It’s at these kinds of in-person events that DipJar shines. It provides an easy way for people to give in the moment, to take a tangible step to support a cause they care about. We are proud to be working with the FOAR from Home team and encourage you to support their efforts to fight veteran suicide. You can give at https://foarfromhome.com/donate/ or sponsor the team for a mile.