On June 12th, 167 Veteran hikers and dedicated volunteers gathered in Colorado Springs 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 2021CSPRINGS.
The hike appropriately began at the Veteran's Memorial in Memorial Park in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs. First stop was at the Fireman's Memorial to pay respect to our first responders. Lunch followed at Rooster's House of Ramen, a Veteran-owned restaurant that welcomed us with open arms. Because Veterans never pass up the chance for a good photo opp, hikers stopped at the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum to take some great group photos before heading on to our last stop at Bass Brewing, another Veteran-owned business and a local staple in town.
"1 State, 1 City, 1 Hike, 1 Mile High"
-Jacob Fry, Lead Coordinator
The mission of every IW hike is the same – prevent Veteran suicide by bringing Vets together with humor and camaraderie. This hike was one non-stop funny, emotional, supportive moment. But sometimes, hikers say it best:
“I loved the whole thing. I was a little reserved at first but when we stopped for lunch I sat with a few random people and we started talking. It was great to have that camaraderie and feel like I’m around “my people.” Also, getting ot talk all kinds of shit and fuck around was nice. Can’t really do that with most civilian friends.”
"“I loved every second of it. Truly one of the best days I’ve had in a while. I felt so comfortable even way outside of my comfort zone."
"Weeks before the event I mentioned to a fellow veteran at the car wash that I wanted to do the Silkies Hike but was nervous to go by myself. I had really alienated myself from the veteran community but felt ready to reengage. He said, “Just look for our flag. You are welcome to join us.” Sure enough they found me, kept their word, and honestly I hadn’t felt that welcomed or safe anywhere in a minute."
Thank you to all the local businesses and individuals who provided generous donations of food, drinks, and monetary contributions, or hosted us for stops along the hike!
Rooster's House of Ramen - for their extremely efficient process to feed a bunch of hungry, hiking Veterans. Finding a place to host over 150 people for lunch was not easy, but these guys rose to the occasion in every possible way.
Bass Brewing - for welcoming us with open arms for our last stop of the day. They've been a staple of this hike the past two years and they certainly didn't disappoint this time around. Thanks guys!
The Enlisted Association - for sponsoring our Meet & Greet the night before the hike. This association is an entire facility for Veterans and Active Duty servicemembers to meet up, play darts, have some drinks, you name it. There was no hesitation in their support!
This hike would not have been possible without our other amazing sponsors!
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?? 2021CSPRINGS) to every hiker. VET Tv was set up with merch, stickers, and great conversation with hikers.
Berry's Law Firm - for coming out and speaking with hikers about how they can assist Veterans with medical claims, and handing out free Silkies!
Who Made it Possible
Jacob Fry - Lead Coordinator
Natasha Halverson (US Army) - Assistant Coordinator
Justin Zeiba (US Navy) - Assistant Coordinator
Tank Kinselman (USMC) - Assistant Coordinator
This may be a small team, but it's a mighty one. They were dedicated from the start and put on an incredible hike - even when due to some COVID restrictions in Denver, the Denver and Colorado Springs hikes were combined into one. Hats off to this stellar team for their commitment to the mission, and for putting on a hell of a day.
JOIN THE DEBAUCHERY
Denver and Colorado Springs are planning to join forces again next year, since this day was such a success. If you want to get involved, check out the IW-Colorado Facebook Page, or reach out to lead coordinator Jacob Fry directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 MissionaVET 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*** The photos used in this blog are photos collected from those shared by hikers, coordinators, volunteers, and attendees of Silkies Hikes. If you'd like individual credit for a photo that shared, please reach out at email@example.com so we can accredit it.