On August 7th, over 150 veteran hikers and dedicated volunteers gathered in Atlantic Beach, NC to hike for the Irreverent Warrior cause - prevent Veteran suicide through connection, camaraderie, and humor.
VET Tv is the proud National Sponsor for Irreverent Warriors in 2021. In addition to a $25,000 donation matching initiative, every ticket to an IW Silkies Hike comes with a free month subscription to VET Tv. REDEEM yours using code 2021ATCBEACHNC.
The hike route primarily stayed on the hard ball in Atlantic Beach, but there were a few segments that took us down to the beaches, and ultimately to our final stop at Fort Macon - an old Civil War Fort where we were able to get a whole-group picture at the end of the iconic pier.
We were graciously hosted by some great local landmarks along the way, including Crystal Coast Brewing Co. who were absolutely amazing. They welcomed the entire group with open arms and pretty much gave hikers free rein of their facilities (we couldn't believe it either). Ociana Pier and Pierhouse, Pizzeria Roma and Subtropics were also kind enough to host us and provided delicious food for our lunch.
We have to send a shoutout to the local Police and Fire Departments who were incredibly supportive both through the permitting and planning process, as well as on the day of the hike. The hike actually made a stop at the local FD and got to meet a few fighters who were either veterans themselves or had family members that had served. The story swapping was pretty incredible to witness.
"Embrace the Suck"
The mission of every IW hike is the same – prevent veteran suicide by bringing vets together with humor and camaraderie. This hike was the perfect representation of that mission.
Even despite a rush of less-than-fantastic weather (i.e. pouring down rain and hurricane-style winds while we were on the beach... not awesome), the morale of the day couldn't have been higher. That included a little healthy competition between a few of our lead coordinators - when this hike's lead coordinator Jonathon Matlock got to pie Wilmington coordinator Matt Reeves in the face because over 150 hikers showed up on hike day... which apparently Matt didn't think was possible. SO shout out to each of you that made that magical moment possible.
Thank you to all the local businesses and individuals who provided generous donations, hosted us for stops along the hike, or were there with us at step-off to support the cause!
Ociania Pier and Pierhouse
Crystal Coast Brewing
Sponsors & Donors
This hike would not have been possible without our other amazing sponsors. You ready for this list?!
Veteran Television (VET Tv) - our National Presenting Sponsor this year who donated Free Silkies to giveaway at the hike, and handed out a free month of VET Tv (seriously, did you redeem yours yet?? 2021ATCBEACHNC to every hiker.
The Groom Room of Jacksonville
Team Chevrolet of Swansboro
Bluefin Artistry - for the incredible photography services they provided. **Photos on this blog are accredited to BlueFin Artistry**
Who Made it Possible
Jonathon Matlock- Lead Coordinator
Matt Lafontaine - 2nd in Command
Anna Herreth - Marketing and Merch
Robin Navarro- Social Media
Kesha Driskall - Social Media
Danielle Brown - Fundraising
Lauren Couture - Volunteer Coordinator
JOIN THE DEBAUCHERY
We're planning even bigger and better things for Atlantic Beach next year. If you're interested, reach out to IW directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're looking to get involved, reach out via the IW- Atlantic Beach Facebook page, or reach out to email@example.com.
If you're looking for more hikes to attend this year (we certainly wouldn't blame you) you can find events in your area on the Irreverent Warriors website.
97% of the proceeds we raise at Irreverent Warriors goes directly to our mission - prevent Veteran suicide through connection, camaraderie, and humor. We're not into spreading awareness - we're into making a difference.
One Shared MissionVET Tv is the proud National Sponsor for Irreverent Warriors in 2021. In addition to a $25,000 donation matching initiative, every ticket to an IW Silkies Hike comes with a free month subscription to VET Tv.
***Blog Photo Credit*** Most blog photos are pulled from the IW- Chicago Facebook Page and are contributed by hikers and attendees of the event that are happy to share their photos. Specific photo credit on this blog goes to Jen Merlo. at Bluefin Artistry If one of these photos is yours and you'd like individual credit, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can do so!