Wounded Warriors for Wildlife
The objectives of the expedition are to repay these wounded heroes for their selfless service, demonstrate the strength, capabilities, and resiliency of our warriors, while reminding the world of their continuing personal struggles, and to leverage their considerable skills to enhance the capabilities of anti-poaching teams on the frontline in the war against illicit wildlife trafficking.
Your support is crucial to achieving these objectives. Please donate whatever you can...sponsor a hero!
Donations will pay the travel and equipment expenses for the team. Any surplus will be distributed to charities helping wounded veterans in their recovery from the injuries of war and conservation organizations providing support to anti-poaching units and the protection of Africa's iconic endangered species.
All donors will receive regular email updates on the expedition's progress and will be recognized in the published final report. Any donation of $10,000 or more will receive an autographed and framed picture of the team displaying a personalized "thank you" banner on the summit of Kilimanjaro.
Even the smallest amount will help make a dream come true and aid in the recovery of these amazing warriors.
For nonprofit donations, please contact me directly.
Let me know if you would like to support the cause in some other way than monetary donation.
SPREAD THE WORD TO ALL YOU KNOW AND FOLLOW THE ADVENTURE ON FACEBOOK
Wounded Warriors For Wildlife on Facebook
Thank you for supporting the troops and this cause.
Eric L. Fies, FRGS
Command Sergeant Major
U.S. Army, Retired
North Star Adventure Consulting
David joined the Army right out of high school in the mid-1990s as an Armor Crewman on M1A1 tanks stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia. He did one tour of enlistment and left the Army with no plans to return, but a few months later 9/11 happened, and he decided to get back in the fight. David attended the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and was Commissioned as an Infantry Officer with the Florida Army National Guard where he volunteered to deploy with the famed 34th Infantry Division, 1st Brigade Red Bulls to Iraq from 2006-2007. During that deployment, he served as an Infantry Platoon Leader doing a variety of combat operations all over Iraq, to include convoy security. Convoy operations meant constant danger of improvised explosive devices (IED) blasts and his convoy was pounded repeatedly with IEDs. In one night, his vehicle took two different IED blasts near route Irish in Baghdad, and he sustained a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and back injuries. He returned home in the fall of 2007 to a brand new baby and began teaching convoy operations and counter-IED to mobilizing service members at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
It was quickly clear to him that he had significant combat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but, at that time, seeking treatment could end his career, and he chose to silently fight those demons. Less than a year later, he was headed back to Iraq from 2008-2009. Upon returning from that deployment, his PTSD and anger management issues made him unbearable, but he still refused to seek treatment or admit he needed it. He was years into debilitating migraines from the TBI that medication barely touched, and it was a tough existence for him and those around him. He volunteered to deploy to Kandahar, Afghanistan from 2011-2012, and, when he returned home, decided to get involved in helping wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers transition either back into the fight or on to the next stage of their post-military lives.
In May 2012, he became a Company Commander with the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Watching his wounded Soldiers struggle with the same TBI and PTSD issues that he refused to really seek treatment for made him feel like a fraud and his marriage was crumbling due to his anger, PTSD, nightmares, and generally undesirable attitude. He finally gave in and began Intensive Outpatient Treatment for PTSD and intensive TBI treatment at Madigan Army Medical Center. After two years in Command, he served as the WTB Logistics Officer, and then as the Logistics Officer for Special Operations Detachment Pacific. He now serves as the Executive Officer for the WTB at Fort Riley, Kansas. This is his 4th year working to support wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers. He knows what it took to get back in the fight following his own combat injuries and now he considers it a Calling to do the same for others.
When the opportunity came up to not only travel to Africa, but also play a role in combating poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking in Africa, he knew he had to get involved with North Star Adventure Consulting's Wounded Warriors For Wildlife Program. David is an avid outdoorsman and sees wildlife as a sacred resource that must be protected and treated with dignity and respect. He often argues that hunters and outdoorsmen love animals more than any other group. Poaching is theft and the most heinous form of disrespect to life, nature, and the animals that inhabit Africa. He is incredibly honored to get the opportunity to bring visibility to this issue, as well as taking personal action to prevent illegal poaching activities on the continent of Africa.
Welcome to the Team, Major Raines! Thank you for your continued service to our Nation and to the incredible Soldiers charged to protect it.
Craig is a retired Special Forces Weapons Sergeant (18B) with 20 years of service, including one combat deployment to Somalia, and four combat deployments to Afghanistan. He retired in 2011, and immediately went to work as a government contractor where he spent the next three years in Afghanistan as a Counterinsurgency Advisor. In 2014, he gave up work outside the continental U.S. so he could focus on building a “normal” life with his wife, Christie, and his nine-year-old son, Ben. Craig continues to do some government contract work in the States, and teaches survival and mountaineering in the civilian sector. Craig would not trade his time spent in the military for anything, but that 20+ years of service did not come without many costs. He sustained numerous physical injuries, including a broken back while on deployment in 2009, but he continues to battle the unseen wounds of war the most, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). His faith in God and the loving support from his family help with these daily battles, but being active outside is the only time that he is ever truly at peace. Craig believes that Mother Nature provides him the type of healing therapy that could never be found in a doctor’s office, and it is because of this gift that Nature provides that he feels so passionate about protecting it.
This includes doing anything he can to help in the fight against illegal poaching in Africa. The mass killing of iconic African wildlife occurring at the hands of illegal poachers is causing the endangerment and potential extinction of certain species, as well as a complete disruption to ecosystems. Once these ecosystems become unbalanced, the health of the human species is also at risk. Craig is excited about the opportunity to once again be part of a team working to provide help and protection to an area in desperate need of it. He hopes that this journey will inspire others who may be dealing with physical and mental pain, and remind them that there are still plenty of opportunities to be a part of something bigger than themselves…You just have to get up and get after it!
Welcome to the team, Brother, and thank you for your selfless service to our Great Nation.