An initiative that supports our wounded veterans was begun by Marine Corps captains Mark Silvers and Sean Gobin in 2011 while they were deployed in Afghanistan. They saw the need to support wounded veterans, many of whom were multiple amputees, as they transitioned from military service to civilian life, and they founded the nonprofit organization, Warrior Hike.
Following separation from military service, Mark and Sean embarked upon a 2,185 mile hike of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, a long time dream of Sean’s. Along the way, they organized fundraisers resulting in donations of $50,000 which was used for adapted vehicles for seriously wounded Afghanistan veterans. During their six month hike, they became aware of the benefits of the experience - physical, psychological and spiritual - and began the “Walk Off the War” program in partnership with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
Today, the “Walk Off the War” program offers wounded veterans the opportunity to participate in hiking the Appalachian Trail. Some of these veterans have done several tours of duty and many are multiple amputees. In addition to learning to live with their disabilities, they are experiencing issues common to all returning vets – difficulty finding meaningful employment, relationships that have changed while they were away and a lack of understanding of what they’ve experienced and “where I am” by those around them. The “Walk Off the War” exercise-based therapy program offers them ways to reflect, forget and “get better” while enjoying America’s vast natural beauty and rediscovering our country’s amazing landscapes, rivers, lakes, mountains and natural forests.
Click Here for more information about the “Walk Off the War” program and to learn how to participate or become a sponsor.
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