Chad Brown, decorated US Navy veteran who received multiple honors after serving in Desert Storm Gulf War and Operation Restore Hope, Somalia, struggles today with PTSD. The illness nearly drove him to suicide before he found solace in fly fishing. Brown’s discovery of nature as medicine inspired him to launch Soul River, Inc., a nonprofit that aims to share the healing power of rivers with veterans and inner-city youth. Soul River Inc. has held successful deployments taking youth and veterans on local rivers in Oregon, Washington, Utah, Florida, and far off destinations in Alaska and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. These opportunities promote healing and learning through many facets of outdoors education and advocacy leadership development mentored by veterans while breaking barriers and building new communities.
Brown’s work as the Founder and President of Soul River Inc. has taken him across the country, including multiple times to our nation’s capital, to speak about connecting people of the inner city, particularly youth of color, to the outdoors. Additionally, Brown has presented to key city leaders, state representatives, and officials about diversity, conservation, and building collaborative relationships between nonprofit and for-profit businesses. Brown also sits on the National Wildlife Refuge Association’s Board of Directors.