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Onion Bag Project

Whether a completed trip, river clean up, or raising funds and awareness, you'll find our accomplished missions here.

Providing ADA Compliant Kayak Launches

Ariel Park Foundation New Kayak Launch

The goal of Paddle for Heroes is dedicated to providing access to our waterways for all. We believe that paddling is therapeutic for the mind and body. 

Paddle for Heroes dedication to those with disabilities is seen daily in our ADA Compliant Kayak Launches. We are committed to the continuation of fund raising to allow all the ability to access our waterways.  We are steadfast in our commitment.

Our specific objectives for this endeavor are to:

  • Raise funds to install ADA Accessible Kayak Launches at Ariel-Foundation Park and The William R. Gaines Jr. Memorial Park.

  •  Help our community and those that have disabilities get back on the water easily and safely.

  •  Allow those that have not been able to enjoy the water because of a disability to have access to the activities they enjoy most.

Promote outdoor activities that support healing and health.


PFH 2019 Veterans Picnic

Paddle for Heroes wanted to contribute to the community of Mount Vernon, Ohio. Installing an ADA Accessible Kayak Launch at Ariel-Foundation Park will allow the local and surrounding community members a place to come where they could enjoy the comforts and enjoyment of the water, without the concern of deciding how to get in and out of their kayak or canoe. Paddle for Heroes has worked with the community and raised over $30,000 to install the launch. 

We are happy to announce that the launch was installed on June 6th, 2019! 

We are now looking for ways to continue to help those that would like to enjoy the water but don't always have the resources. A donation to Paddle for Heroes would help us provide adaptive paddling equipment such as kayaks, paddles, life jackets and more to those that would not be able to purchase them on their own. We thank you for your continued support.




Officer Thomas Cottrell

Danville Police Dept

End of Watch January 17, 2016


Each year a group of Veterans, First Responders, and Supporters journey as a collective unit from Mount Vernon, Ohio to Marietta, Ohio. Our journey each year is dedicated to one of our fallen heroes.

This 160-mile paddle is key to raising awareness of our mission and brings positive enlightenment regarding our Hero community. 

Witness for yourself strangers come together to support a common mission and leave as family. The impact that these relationships create in our communities is vital to awareness and support. We have had overwhelming support from small towns and communities along the way. Won't you join us? 

From our Founder

Updated: December 2023



The Onion Bag Project

*Waterway Conservation by Paddle for Heroes


As part of a new conservation project, Paddle for Heroes has started placing Onion Litter Bag Boxes along access points in the Muskingum Watershed District.


The goal is to provide an easy and feasible way for paddlers to dispose of their trash while keeping our waterways clean. They currently have boxes placed at every access point along the Kokosing River, Greer Landing, and The Bridge of Dreams on the Mohican River; as well as several along the Walhonding, Muskingum, and Tuscarawas Rivers. They have seen a drastic reduction in litter on the Kokosing River already due to the boxes being placed at convenient access points.


Paddlers are encouraged to grab a bag before they launch their canoes, kayaks, or tubes and tie it to their paddle craft. In the unlikely event of a rollover, trash and belongings will not become litter. Having boxes placed at every access point allows paddlers to return them when they are finished paddling for the day, or they may keep them as part of their river gear. Paddle for Hero asks everyone to “carry in/carry out” and dispose of their trash in the proper receptacle.


Founder and President Steve Fleming first learned of the use of onion bags, when he paddled the Buffalo National River in 2019. The National Park Service does not allow plastic trash bags on the river therefore; they require you to use onion litter bags. “The outfitter we used to spot our vehicles gave each member of our group an onion litter bag. He then explained that when you are on a river with small rapids, there is a higher chance of paddlers flipping their watercraft. Unlike plastic bags, which tend to rip open and become litter; onion bags when secured properly to your craft will not rip open and spill trash into the water.”, stated Fleming.


Fleming paddled the Sturgeon River in Northern Michigan that same year and noticed a local non-profit by the name of Sturgeon River Sweepers. This nonprofit was already utilizing onion bag boxes at various access points. Fleming states, “I ended up reaching out to them and participating in one of their clean-ups. They praised how much they kept litter down from previous years.” Fleming then proceeded to contact Knox County Park District Director Lori Totman. Mr. Fleming and Ms. Totman discussed this project at length. It was discovered through these conversations that Paddle for Heroes and the Knox County Park District were in complete agreement regarding the placement of onion bag boxes at all Knox County Park District river access points.


This collaboration and support testify to the care and love of our waterways, not only by Paddle for Heroes, but by our county park systems as well. Please consider becoming a sponsor and partner in this project by contacting for more information.

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