Two weeks ago today, I had the honor of climbing with Charley Mace, one of America’s most accomplished Himalayan mountaineers. So far, all of my climbing has been done in the summer, and I was looking to learn something new. After the first hour, it became obvious that it’s been 15 months since my last climb, and that I’d been sedentary for 10 of those months while healing from back to back ankle surgeries (indoor soccer tore me up). Charley continued to be patient and teach me how to move quicker and more efficiently to be safe. We also had plenty of time to get to know each other, and I got to hear some truly amazing stories – about some of our veteran soldiers.
You see, Charley is currently the CEO of a charity organization known as Soldiers to the Summit, and is using his gift for climbing to teach far greater lessons to our veterans who have returned home different than how they left. If you know a veteran of the armed services who is having severe trouble re-adjusting to normal day to day activities, then perhaps Charley and his group can help. If you feel led to give to help these men and women, please make a donation in any amount through the above linked website.
Keep an eye out for the upcoming movie, High Ground, about leading their first group of 11 wounded veterans up Lobuche, a 20,075 foot peak in the shadow of Everest, and the healing that takes place as a result. The day before our climb, Charley had just returned from Washington, DC, where he previewed the film before members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Leon Panetta, and several veterans from Bethesda Medical.
On this Veterans Day, I want to thank my father (Colonel, TXANG (ret) – Operation Desert Freedom/Storm), and all those who have sacrificed themselves for the freedom we hold sacred.