On July 17th, over 125 veteran hikers and dedicated volunteers gathered in Chicago, Illinois 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 2021CHICAGO.
The hike route was absolutely stunning, taking hikers along the Lake Shore Trail with stops along the way on a few beaches, Castaways Food, and the Navy Pier.
At the first stop, there was, of course, the year traditional of the Battle-of-the-Branches Tug-O-War. The marines came out on top this year - but it's still anyone's game in 2022.
Lunch at Veterans Q BBQ was delicious and the atmosphere was even better. This was their second year supporting the Chicago hike and the owners and entire staff have been nothing short of supportive and hospitable.
A huge shout-out goes to the Police Department and local officials in Chicago who helped the hike go off without a hitch - from permits to making sure everything was good to go on hike day. Local support means everything to the success of these hikes!
"We just created a hell of a lot of new addictions. All these first timers are now hooked on Silkies Hikes.” "
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.
The Chicago hike this year was made up of almost 75% new hikers. Seeing new connections and friendships made was a treat for everyone all day. Nevermind it's a group that's always up for anything - including carrying around a cardboard cutout of Grunt Style's CEO Tim Jensen since he couldn't attend the hike.
To sum it all up, we'll let one of the hikers take it away, "These hikes mean the world to me. Getting to see my brothers and sisters come together and have a good time. Cry together, laugh together. Nothing could ever match the magic that happens at these events."
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!
Support over Stigma
VFW Post #4600
Jesse Brown VA
Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center
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?? 2021CHICAGO) to every hiker.
Grunt Style - for sponsoring this Thigh Throwdown in their hometown.
Veterans Q BBQ
Reign Total Body Energy
Midwest Moving & Storage Co.
Who Made it Possible
Brandon Eldridge (Navy Corpsman)- Lead Coordinator
Christopher Dixon - Volunteer Coordinator
Stephanie Piller - Admin/Financial Manager
Ara Vinson (Navy Corpsman)- Photographer
JOIN THE DEBAUCHERY
The Chicago Team is planning a 2022 hike, but, unfortunately, our fearless lead coordinator, Brandon Eldrige, is being transferred to his new command and so we are actively recruiting a new lead coordinator for Chicago. 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- Chicago 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. Additional photo credit for several photos also goes to Joy Cervantes. 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!