A local man is making the trip of a lifetime. His mission? To help those who served the country and now need our help. Jeff Loeffler from Elk County is an avid kayaker who is using this time of isolation from the Coronovirus to paddle down the Susquehanna River. Not just part of it, the entire thing. A trip that he did to help Stop Soldiers Suicide.
He entered the river at Cooperstown, NY and is travelling all of the way to Havre De Grace, MD where the river spills into the Chesapeake Bay. This over 400 mile trip is not an easy one, and for most of it. he was alone.
Zach Sangiorgi of Duncansville helped Jeff for the first 189 mile which, a good thing as they had to start off with flood waters in New York. The trip has been tough, dealing with high water and rough weather, but it is all worth it for Jeff who wants to get the conversation start to let people know epidemic we have right now which is soldiers dying from suicide, suffering from PTSD and other situations they run into and not just the soldiers, just their families.
It is working as people started to notice and came down to the river to reach about their stories. This has made it an exciting adventure for Jeff.
Our Chief Meteorologist Joe Murgo caught up with Jeff in North Umberland near the confluence of the Main Branch and the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. They paddled together for almost 8 miles until Selinsgrove. During that time, Joe learned that Jeff has been getting support from a kayaker that was following the journey on GPS. Mark radios Jeff to warn him of obstacles ahead. He steered them around a dam not too far into their journey.
There are positives to the journey including an abundance of wildlife, spotting eagles and more types of ducks than he knew existed. The soul searching was important to Jeff too saying “The river has a way of helping you process things, you think about family, you think about all of the things you do. A lot of times you just sit there and enjoy the nature and the scenery” and also why he is doing this which is help those in need and their families.
Here is the first part of the uncut raw view from Joe’s boat camera.
Here is the second part of the raw video from Joe’s boat camera.
Here is the final boat camera video.
Here is a raw video from Joe’s helmet camera
Here is the second video from Joe’s helmet camera
Here the complete and uncut interview with Jeff near the dam.