Help Warriors in the Winds Climb

My name is Michael, and I am a OIF veteran, and now an aspiring mountain guide wishing to continue taking my fellow OIF/OEF/OND veterans on mountain expeditions to climb different peaks. Even though I am from Texas, I found my center, and my peace, in the mountains of Colorado while trying to ascend summits there. So, now my goal is to share that same experience with my fellow veterans in hopes that it can bring the same light to thier lives.

The Green Beret Foundation hosts a fundraising event each year called, "Rocking the Winds" in Wyoming. This year,  the Foundation has selected a handful of veterans. and veterans with disabilities (myself included as part of the expedition team) to make the grueling attempt at summitting Gannett Peak. The foundation is calling the expedition, "Warriors in the Winds."

The expedition will take place from August 11th, through August 17th (however we are driving up to Wyoming on August 5th to assemble new and left over gear, and to prepare for the expedition and the arrival of the rest of our veteran expedition team mates). If this expedition is a success, this may be an event added to each years' "Rocking in the Winds" event.

The veterans were required to provide their own travel expenses to and from Wyoming, as well as their own gear, which most have never done anything like this before, so have most have no gear or proper clothing whatsoever. A couple of donors stepped up to offer to purchase what was needed for the veterans to make the expedition.

As you can imagine, alpine mountain climbing is dangerous, arduous, and requires specialized gear and equipment such as crampons and ice axes for traversing multiple glaciers, crevasse rescue, specialized tents, and special clothing to protect from the elements at that elevation. This is not just a vacation for these veterans, but more of a therapuetic experience to remind them of their perseverence and resilience they once demonstrated while in the service.

Suddenly, the two donors to the expedition had to pull out at the last second (due to business and family issues and which is why we are on such a short time line to raise funds and acquire the gear), leaving us with the inability to purchase the lion's share of the required gear, and some of the travel expenses for the veterans that have already invested some to go.

Since I have the experience of organizing events like these, and the desire to continue to serve my fellow veterans that are in the same position as I am, I volunteered to begin a donor campaign to raise the money that I/we need to equip everyone, and provide the travel expenses to and from Wyoming for the veterans. I will also be responsible for withdrawing the money, assisting in making the purchases, and issuing everything out to the climbers.

Once the expedition is completed, we are all invited to attend the Green Beret Foundation's event, and be introduced as an expedition team, as well as get the chance to see the solar eclipse from one of the best places possible on Earth.

Once the campaign is over (5th or 6th of August), the money will be withdrawn, and myself and one other teammate from the expedition will be making the purchases of the gear to carry with us to Wyoming to issue out to everyone as they arrive. For those that are in need of assistance with travele expenses, I will send them what they need via PayPal, Western Union, or MoneyGram.

The funds generated by this campaign will be used exclusively for the travel expenses of some of the veterans that need it, but will mostly be used at special retailers and outdoor outfitters to purchase the gear.

Gear such as clothing and jackets to protect from the weather (cold, temps, rain, snow, and ice), special boots that will allow for crampons to be used, crampons, ice axes, helmets, gloves, backpacking packs, backpacking stove equipment, food for multiple meals per day for each veteran, single wall tents (to be used in alpine conditions) harnesses, safety ropes, belay devices, water sterilization, Nalgene water bottles, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, specialized sunglasses, navigation equipment, a couple of cheap cameras to capture the good moments, headlamps, insect repellent, toiletries, and other smaller items to make the expedition safer and to practice Leave No Trace principles.

These are specialized items that cannot be picked up at a regular department store to take the family on a weekend camping trip. They are designed for safety in harsh alpine conditions, and this makes each item more expensive than something of much lower quality than you would find at a local department store. If there is not enough of the proper gear and equipment able to be purchased, some of the selected veterans will have to be told they cannot come and participate on the expedition.

I already had to cut the list of wants and needs down drastically, to get the goal down to the $10,000 level, and even that goal is very much pushing the envelope on being able to get the bare essentials of what we need for a successful expedition for the selected veterans. Every dollar of the goal money, including anything that is reached beyond the goal (and some out of our own pockets) will be spent directly on the gear that is needed, and not just wanted. If the goal succeeds, there are still a lot more items that can and will be purchased to ensure a safe and successful summit each veteran can be proud of, as well as anyone who contributed and helped.

This campaign will be a very short one as we are down to the wire on time. Most likely, the campaign will only run until the 5th (maybe 6th) of August, giving me (and who is riding with me to Wyoming, the time to withdraw the money and make the purchases en route. We have already made a list of items needed, along with the sizes. The items will be purchased, and issued to the veterans once we meet up in Wyoming at the grounds of the Foundation.

As an incentive for those that are businesses (or just regular people like us) that might be wishing to make a contribution, we have been given permission to hang up any banners, signs, or flags representing your business at the fundraiser event as a way of saying thank you and letting everyone know who stepped up to help.

If you are a Gold Star family member (a family that lost a service member in the wars), we have also been given more than permission to display photographs of those fallen heroes as well. Please, just let us know so that we can coordinate getting that from you ASAP so that we can take it with us. If it is something small and light enough, we might could even get a picture holding it at the summit!

We have worked really hard to trim the fat off the items we were originally supposed to get, so that the goal on here could be as low as possible without jeopardizing the expedition. If we do reach the goal, please do not be disuaded from contributing further, as I have said before, there are still other items we can use to make it safer and more enjoyable for us. 

All gear that is purchased with the donations will be given to the veterans on the expedition so that they can be used on follow on expeditions and climbs that they may get to take part in as this may turn out to be an annual thing, but also so that they can go home with the proper safety gear to continue the practice of mountaineering. If the veterans choose to give the gear to a different foundation or charity so that that organization can save money on the same gear for their expeditions, that will be the totally theveteran's choice. The gear and clothing belongs to them.

Thank you for your time, and we really appreciate any amount that you can donate. We will also be working on "rewards" for different levels of donations. If there are any questions, please feel free to leave your question in the comments for all to see.

Also, please share this with family and friends. The more people who see it, the more chances we have of reaching our goal. Sharing this with others on Facebook, email, or however else is just as important as contributing.

(If asked for your mailing address when making the donation, it is because we have elected to have certain "perks" for donators that contribute a certain amount, and that will need to be mailed to them. If you do not go for the perks levels, I do not think it "needs" your mailing address.)

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