Help get wounded warriors to the top of Mt. Rainier
http://mynorthwest.com/108/695450/Help- ... Mt-Rainier
Several vets celebrate reaching the summit of Mount Rainier thanks to the help of Camp Patriot (Camp Patriot image)
Climbing Mount Rainier is one of the most difficult things to do for those in even the best of shape. So you can only imagine how challenging it would be with a prosthetic leg or some other permanent injury. It's exactly that challenge that inspires Micah Clark to help wounded soldiers strive for the summit.
"Hopefully, through those adventures, we show them that they have the abilities to conquer things they may not think they are able to do," Clark told 97.3 KIRO FM's Tony Miner for the Ron and Don Show. He founded the organization after returning home to the Tri-Cities from a tour of duty as a special operations Marine serving in Afghanistan.
The mission is to get our wounded warriors back out in the great outdoors doing the things they love to do, from hunting to climbing.
This summer, they'll help two wounded warriors attempt to reach the top of Mount Rainier, one of them an amputee with a prosthetic leg.
"It's going to be a challenge. We've learned from experience the first year, we had a gentleman with above the knee amputee and that makes a big difference compared to below the knee. But we had the guys downs in Colorado just two weeks ago, training on Pike's Peak, and they're looking pretty positive. They're gung ho to get over on this mountain and conquer her," Clark says.
One guy who's already climbed to the top is Master Sgt. Jesse Yandell, an Army Ranger stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord. Jesse was seriously wounded in Afghanistan, but recovered and set his sights on Rainier. And he says when he got there, the feeling of pride and accomplishment was overwhelming.
"It will draw a tear to your eye. There's no way that it won't. You're on the highest peak in North America. It's pretty inspiring to turn around and look at the teammates that you've made and how they've brought you to that level. It's a pretty inspiring moment in your life. I think every time somebody comes up there, they achieve the same thing," Yandell says.
But Clark says for many of the wounded warriors, reaching the summit is irrelevant.
"A lot of these guys, just taking that first step on the mountain, they're conquering so much more than just climbing that mountain. It is one of those inspiring events and hopefully we're going to expand that with the help of the people out there and keep on doing what we're doing."
With over 2.3 million disabled vets in the U.S. right now, Clark says the need for his services are greater than ever. His organization functions entirely on grants and donations, and he hopes to be able to offer the unique experiences to many more in the coming years.
"That's why we built Camp Patriot. To take care of the vets from WWII forward."
A special fundraising dinner and auction is scheduled for Sunday July 8 at Seahawks headquarters, with the Rainier climb set to begin a couple days later.
Learn more about Camp Patriot and find out how to help
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These guys are a big part of my motivation to get off my ass and climb Mount Rainier. Very motivating.
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