Lonnie's Story

Kayaker Goes Solo Down Grand CanyonLonnie Bedwell


Lonnie Bedwell, a Navy veteran from the Indiana Regional Group, made history last August 21 by becoming the first totally blind kayaker ever to navigate the entire length of the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River.

Lonnie was guided by three other veterans from Team River Runner, who provided him with only voice commands during the 16-day, 226-mile journey. In addition to his record-breaking feat, Lonnie fulfilled a dream he has long shared with Team River Runner Executive Director Joe Mornini. Quoted in a news release published days after the trip, Lonnie described the feelings that accompanied the achievement.

“Running the Grand Canyon was a dream for Joe and me, and now that dream has become a reality,” the quote stated. “I hope that other disabled persons will be able to share this feeling with me one day and achieve their dreams as well.”

Lonnie started kayaking only some four years ago after attending a Team River Runner event during which he learned the basics of kayaking.