2013-04-26 Kilimanjaro Warriors


The Air Warrior Courage Foundation is proud to support an expedition of Wounded Warriors climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. One of our River Rats, Steve Connolly is leading the expedition and the following is a press release outlining the expedition: 

In May 2011, retired New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, former Tennessee Titans Coach Jeff Fisher and former Philadelphia Eagles tight end Chad Lewis took four injured service members on an expedition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Inspired by the project, Steve Connolly, a retired Air Force Reserve Lieutenant Colonel and current American Airlines pilot from Keller, Texas, decided to form his own Kilimanjaro Expedition called Kilimanjaro Warriors. His goal is to give disabled veterans an additional motivational tool in their rehabilitation processes, and provide them with a monumental goal that, once achieved, will give them an incentive to lead a fulfilling life. He plans to lead an excursion to climb Mount Kilimanjaro beginning February 10, 2014. 

Attempting to summit Kilimanjaro with Connolly is Marine Sergeant Erich Ellis, below-knee amputee; Air Force Captain Sarah Evans, full-leg amputee, and husband, Air Force Captain Joe Evans; Army Staff Sergeant Orlando Gill, above-knee amputee; Oklahoma Army Guard Sergeant Kisha Makerney, below-knee amputee; Marine Corporal Nick Perales, below-knee amputee; Air Force Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Matt Byrd and wife Lela Byrd ; and retired Navy Lieutenant Commander and Center for the Intrepid physical therapist Mark Heniser. 

Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania, Africa, and is the highest freestanding mountain in the world at 19,341 feet above sea level. Kilimanjaro supports six major eco-zones: cultivated land, rainforest, heath, moorland, alpine desert and glaciers. It is one of the world’s famous “Seven Summits.” 

Assisting with the planning and support of this project is the Air Warrior Courage Foundation, American Airlines and trekking company, Climb Kili. 

Until the expedition, the Kilimanjaro Warriors team will continue fundraising, rehabilitation and training for the climb. 

You can track their progress by searching Kilimanjaro Warriors on Facebook, or at www.airwarriorcourage.org. If you are interested in becoming a wingman to Kilimanjaro Warriors, tax-deductible donations can be made at: www.airwarriorcourage.org/donations.html. In the comments section, please include, “For Kilimanjaro Warriors and the AWCF.” 

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