By Karen Thompson
November 15, 2021
What seemed like a pipe dream on Oct. 1, 2019, is today a seriously successful fundraising campaign with thousands of local supporters, all pulling for Foar From Home.
The Foar From Home crew—Paul, Hupp, Billy and Cam—will leave Fernandina Nov. 26 and fly to the race start in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. On Dec. 12 they will set off to row 3,000 miles across the ocean in the 2021 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the world’s toughest row. They will join 36 rowing teams from all walks of life each with its own mission.
Foar From Home is “Mission Focused, Mission Driven,” rowing to raise awareness of and funds for veteran PTSD and suicide through K-9 For Warriors and the local organization Cross The Line. Each of the men served in a different branch of the service and brings unique skills to the team, Hupp Huppmann representing the Navy, Paul Lore the Marines, Cameron Hansen the Air Force and Billy Cimino the Army.
“We are a team. We are rowers. We are veterans. We are friends. We are supported by a community. We are on a Mission.” This motto describes a crew of courageous, dedicated men who have trained physically and mentally to endure the massive physical strength required to cross an ocean, learned first aid and emergency medical techniques, navigation, sea survival, the desalination process, VHF radio, boat maintenance and much more.
The rowing team ranges in age from 48-59. They will take turns rowing… 2 hours on, 2 hours off, 24 hours a day. They will lose 20-30 pounds each. They anticipate finishing the race in 40-50 days. Teamwork and communication are essential, they said.
Foar From Home, with a big assist from volunteers, local businesses, partnerships, family and friends have raised more than $600,000. The crew of Courageous has more than 100 major sponsors and have arranged and participated in more than 1,000 fundraising events from lobster sales to PUP-A-BOO-ZA, from candlelight dinners to corn hole tournaments, all to raise money for veteran PTSD and suicide awareness.
Last week Foar From Home presented a check for $50,000 to Cross The Line for the Vocational/College Endowment Fund to assist veterans and their families during job, career or life’s transitions. They also donated another $50,000 to K-9s for Warriors for dog training and a down-payment on a Mega Kennel that will house 64 dogs in training. There is a huge waiting list of veterans waiting to be matched with their own service dogs.
The aptly named boat Courageous, built in England by Rannoch, is specially designed and equipped with electronic, navigational and safety equipment and was packed with 55 days of food, 600 pounds of food packets. The packets contain 5,400-6,000 calories based on each rower’s weight. Courageous was packed and shipped to San Sebastion in La Gomera, the Canary Islands Oct. 12.
Who are these driven, determined men? They’re all married…Lori Huppmann, Katie Cimino, Ruth Maestre and Starla Hansen. Their wives are “steadfast ladies keeping these men on course” and dubbed “The Steady Oars.” They are very supportive of this adventure and have been leaders in fundraising and personal support. They all have children…most of them adults but one just 8 years old.
The crew of Courageous can be serious and obviously focused. When asked about the challenge, Paul, Hupp, Cameron and Billy always put the mission front and center. We are in awe of and thankful for island and community support for this life-altering experience, Paul said. “Our island of love will forever change the lives of veterans.”
Hupp, lead singer for local classic rock band the Honey Badgers, said he “is honored to be a part of the mission and to also use the power of music to bring the community together.”
Cam said he is humbled by the countless number of people touched by the mission. “It’s amazing to see, on a daily basis, how they truly want to help, even after our ocean journey is over.”
Billy’s family, the Cimino, have supported fundraising for veterans rowing the Talisker Challenge in the past. Billy initiated conversations with the other friends/future rowers that led to the Foar From Home Atlantic Challenge and its mission.
Billy said he wants to make “The Island” proud by finishing strong in the race and thanks the wonderful community for generously supporting the cause of veteran suicide and PTSD that plagues veterans across the country and here in Nassau County. When the race is over, just remember why we did it!
They can be hilarious.
The race starts in 25 days, 21 hours, 13 minutes and 25 seconds and counting. And the real challenge has just begun. As they often say, small steps, long journey. Despite sleep deprivation, exhaustion, exposure and thirst, these dedicated, brave guys will bring it home for veterans and their thousands of supporters when they land at Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbor, Antigua.
How can you be part of this exciting adventure?
Go to www.foarfromhome.com to :
-Get the latest updates from our FFH ocean-goers.
-Sponsor a mile or two.
-Shop for a commemorative t-shirt or cap.
-Attend the Bon Voyage Celebration at the Palace Saloon Saturday, Nov. 20, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
-Follow the race. The 2021 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge race-tracker is coming Dec. 21. See the FFH website above for details.
To: Paul, Hupp, Billy and Cam
From: your thousands of fans and supporters in Fernandina Beach and beyond.
May the “foar” winds blow you safely home.” Credit to the Grateful Dead.
Crossing the Atlantic-Just the Facts
According to taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com:
-Each team will row in excess of 1.5 million oar strokes over the course of the race.
-More people have climbed Mt. Everest than have rowed an ocean.
-At its deepest, the Atlantic is 5.28 miles deep.
-Waves ocean rowers will experience and be 20 ft. high.
-Two safety yachts will be supporting the teams.
-Each rower will use 800 sheets of toilet paper.
-There is no toilet on-board, just a bucket.
-Teams are supported 24/7 by two land-based duty officers.
-Each rower will burn in excess of 5,000 calories per day.
-Each rower needs to aim to consume 10 liters of water per day.