Waterloo native canoeing for a cause

Erik Elsea

Erik Elsea grew up in Monroe County and always dreamed of canoeing the entire Mississippi River. He remembers sandbagging against the Mississippi during the Flood of 1993.

“Flooding remains the greatest natural cause of devastation on our planet,” Elsea said. “I want to commemorate the 25th anniversary of that flood by supporting relief efforts for others around the world who have lost their homes in recent disasters.”

Elsea is solo paddling the length of the Mississippi River in a canoe for ShelterBox, an international relief organization that provides necessities to families who have lost everything in natural disasters and wars. He is collecting donations as part of his trip. Elsea, a 1996 Waterloo High School graduate who now lives in Cape Coral, Fla., began his 2,552-mile canoe excursion July 7 at Itasca State Park in Minnesota, with a goal to average 25 miles a day until he reaches the Gulf of Mexico.

To donate toward Elsea’s effort, click here.

In addition to donations collected for ShelterBox, Elsea is vying for a $50,000 Eagle Rare Life Award. To vote in Elsea for this award, click here.

Along the way, Elsea is stopping to give presentations about ShelterBox to groups such as Rotary clubs and other organizations. Although he plans to camp most nights, Elsea hopes to meet anyone willing to offer a hot shower, share a meal or be overnight hosts.

Elsea intends to speak about his journey Aug. 26 at St. Paul United Church of Christ, 200 N. Main Street, Waterloo, during a Sunday morning service.

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