Only a week after Corporal Esteban Blyar completed his four years of service in the Marine Corps, he took on a new challenge—circumnavigating the Florida coastline in a 17-foot kayak. Esteban will travel 1,515 miles from his launch point at Pensacola, at the Florida-Alabama border, to Fort Clinch, at the Florida-Georgia border. He hopes to make the journey—which began March 10—in less than three months, observing and documenting wildlife around the state while at the same time raising money for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

Paddling by two NMCRS offices—NMCRS Pensacola and NMCRS Mayport—will bookend his trip on the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail (https://floridadep.gov/parks/ogt/content/florida-circumnavigational-saltwater-paddling-trail), commonly known as the CT. He plans to paddle about 25 miles each day. Esteban is grateful for the assistance he received from the Society while on active duty, including emergency travel assistance so he could attend his grandmother’s memorial service, and budget counseling that helped him plan his kayaking adventure and save the money needed to finance it. You can follow Esteban on his journey here: https://www.facebook.com/kayakingtheFloridaCT.

Even before he joined the Marines—shortly after graduating from high school—Esteban knew the Marine Corps lifestyle well. He grew up in a Marine Corps family, living overseas for 10 of his first 15 years, in Japan, the Czech Republic, and Honduras. His father, MGySgt(Ret) David Blyar, served in the Marine Corps for 24 years. It was in Okinawa that Esteban first learned to love the outdoors, spending time snorkeling, hiking, and kayaking. While on active duty, Esteban was stationed in Cherry Point, North Carolina, and Yuma, Arizona, and served on humanitarian missions in Belize and Haiti. He made another Society connection while in Haiti, when he met a Navy Corpsman who had received assistance at NMCRS Jacksonville from Esteban’s father, retired MGySgt Blyar, who works there as a relief services assistant.

Esteban’s next career aspiration is to become a law enforcement officer for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and he’s already begun the application process. After he paddles around the entire state, camping along the coastline, he will certainly know the fish and wildlife well.

Help him raise funds for Navy and Marine Corps Families at https://www.facebook.com/donate/1585489604900120/880895188755747/.

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