A former Marine who rowed across the Atlantic to raise money to provide service dogs for veterans is now tackling the Pacific.
Paul Lore, 61, who served in the Marines for eight years in the 1980s before spending 30 years as an air traffic controller, set off from Monterey, California, on June 12 and is due to reach Hanalei Bay in Hawaii in late July after rowing some 2,800 miles.
As a warm-up last year, Lore and three other veterans — one each from the Army, the Navy and the Air Force — who made up the Foar from Home team took 51 days to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic, from the Canary Islands to Antigua, raising $900,000 for K9s for Warriors.
This time, Lore, a father of four who is based at Fernandina Beach on Florida’s Amelia Island, has brought together an international team of two male and two female rowers from the U.S., the Netherlands and Switzerland to form Team Ohana.
The Pacific Challenge row will raise money for K9s for Warriors and also the Children’s Tumor Foundation, which works to expand research and care for neurofibromatosis (NF) and related tumor disorders.
Lore, who expects the Pacific row to take between 38 and 44 days, decided to support the foundation because a friend suffers from NF, in which noncancerous tumors grow in places that cause deafness, blindness and paralysis. The friend underwent seven surgeries in a single year.
K9 for Warriors is the nation’s largest provider of service dogs to military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or military sexual trauma. It has trained 9,000 dogs and has had only one loss of life among those it has served.
An average of 17 veterans die by suicide in the U.S. each day, with veterans 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide than nonveterans.
“We wanted to rewrite the veteran suicide narrative, and to let people know it’s not a shirt or a slogan,” Lore told AARP Veteran Report. “These are our daughters and sons that we’re losing. Sometimes we’re losing our aunts and our uncles. And the dog program works.”