Irreverent Warriors Silkies Hike Ft. Walton Beach, FL

On  September 25th, over 120 veteran hikers and dedicated volunteers gathered in  Ft. Walton Beach, Florida to hike for the Irreverent Warrior cause - prevent Veteran suicide through connection, camaraderie, and humor. 

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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 2021FTWALTON.

The Hike

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The hike officially kicked off Saturday morning at The Island Hotel by RL - but the camaraderie and celebration began long before that at the Meet and Greet Friday night. The Aruba Ballroom provided a free catered meal for the entire hike, and everyone wore their best Hawaiian gear to talk, dance, sing. and hang for a few hours before being sent to get some rest. It was a great beginning to a better day.

Once we kicked off, hikers got to experience (and be overwhelmed with welcome) by three amazing local restaurants who all donated delicious food and drinks to every hiker that came through. G.I Jade Tiki Bar & Bistro - owned by Luisa Garcia and her veteran son Chris - whipped up some award-winning home-smoked BBQ that the hike couldn't get enough of. AJ's on the Bayou had tacos waiting on arrival - in an air-conditioned space at that, which was a welcome retreat from the Florida heat for a few hours. Our final stop was at KC's Sandbar & Grill, one of the most famous local restaurants in town. The owners and staff had the entire place decked out in military decorations, and their hospitality was unmatched. A huge shout out to all three of these local staples for their extremely generous support.

Between the bigger stops, hikers got to enjoy the gorgeous Ft. Walton Beaches and scenery, like a quick water break in Chester Pruitt Park. By the end of the day, everyone was almost too tired for the afterparty... emphasis on almost. We headed back to The Island for raffles, prizes, and a relaxing evening on one of the best beaches you'll ever find. 

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The Mission

"I never could have imagined how much I needed this."

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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 motto of the day had to be "I didn't know I needed this until now." There were a lot of first time hikers at this event, and more than a few were approaching coordinators throughout the day expressing how they had no idea what they were missing. Some had known about Irreverent Warriors for a while - but admitted they didn't quite understand the impact until they experienced it. That's why we do what we do. 

 

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Special Thanks

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!

All three of our local primary stops generously provided free food and water for the entire hike - and welcomed us with open arms. A huge shout out to all three of these local staples for their immense support.

G.I. Jade Tiki Bar & Bistro 

AJ's on the Bayou

KC's Sandbar and Grill

A huge shoutout to Publix in Ft Walton Beach for their generous donation of drinks and snacks for hikers.

The Ft. Walton Police Department had a military support-themed vehicle accompanying us throughout the day to assist with road crossings and helping the hike safely navigate the city. Special thanks for the local support!

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Sponsors & Donors

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?? 2021FTWALTON to every hiker.

Ranger Firearms

Trajector

EOD Warrior Foundation

The Island Hotel by RL

Step One Automotive

Helios Defense Solutions

All American Realty 

Veteran's Landing Group

KC's Sandbar and Grill

Harry T's Lighthouse

Landsharks Pizza Company

All Pro Irrigation Solutions

 

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Who Made it Possible

Nate McDonald - Lead Coordinator

Britt Zicarelli - Lead Volunteer Coordinator

Stacy Shanks

Anna Hunter

Darius Gibbs

Mike Colangelo

John Davis

Kayla Poole

Jason Knight

Ben Case

Daniel Barber

Jon Hearon

Eduardo Duran-Espino

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JOIN THE DEBAUCHERY 

We're planning even bigger and better things for the Ft. Walton Beach hike next year. If you're looking to get involved, reach out via the IW-  Ft. Walton Be Facebook page, or reach out to ftwaltonbeach@irreverentwarriors.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.

 

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One Shared Mission

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. 

 

 

Want a FREE month of VET Tv?  Use code 2021FTWALTON

SUBSCRIBE TODAY

***Blog Photo Credit*** Most blog photos are pulled from the IW- Destin/Ft. Walton Beach Facebook Page and are contributed by hikers and attendees of the event that are happy to share their photos. These photos in particular - special thanks to Eileen Nix and Nate McDonald! Thank you for sharing, guys!

By The Team at VET Tv | November 23, 2021 | | 0 Comments

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