Making Waves On The River

My name is Jesse Johnson. I am just your average Joe. I get up and go to work every day to earn a living, paying bills, providing for my family. I am an outdoors kinda guy with some hobbies and turning a weekend outdoors into an adventure. One of my hobbies includes kayaking. I love being on the water, its peaceful and empowering. I have wanted to take a kayak down the Des Moines River for a few years now after reading of a few others that have taken the journey. I am sure that it is not on the top of most peoples list of things to do... but that is just the start of what makes me different than most folks.

I am not a perfect person. Like most I have rushed through life in somewhat a selfish manor, my wants and needs coming first. I am sure I owe some people some apologies, others have forgiven me without my knowledge. I think about a lot of it daily. All of my life decisions have made me the man I am today, maybe its time to give back a little.

One of the most influential times of my life were the years I spent as a police officer in a smaller community right here in the heartland. I realized that most people look at our world in a different view than those in the law enforcement and emergency services fields... not to mention those men and women serving our county. I am not talking about how people view them, which has its ups and downs. I am talking about what they learn about our species and what they hear and see on their watch, and endure over the course of years of service. Even I have a hand full of demons from my 8 years of service, things I can not forget, the sights and sounds. Its a struggle at times, makes us cold to certain things and hardens our souls to the point we are misunderstood. Ultimately we have good intentions within us but how we go about showing it comes across seemingly rough and negative.

For some these burdens are to difficult to handle and they need a lifeline to turn to, other times they don't think there is anything that can release the shackles in their minds and pay the ultimate price of leaving this world and loved ones behind to grieve their loss. The stress is real folks, it comes in many forms, in many different occupations... many times diagnosed as PTSD, or Post Tramatic Stress Disorder.

With that said, my journey is two fold. First I will be doing this for me. With hopes a peaceful week on the water helps me to battle what life has thrown at me. I am not looking for sympathy. I have done my share of being the cause of others stress, this is a personal battle. I also believe that bringing awareness to law enforcement, EMS, armed services personnel, their friends, and family can help, they need to know whom they can reach out to in times of need. To give back a little I will be using this trip to bring awareness to a foundation that is here to help. Take a moment to visit


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Jesse Johnson 
Lacona, IA
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