On July 21st, over 50 veteran hikers (and another 50 veteran cyclists) gathered in Guam 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 2021GUAM.
The hike - led by roughly 50 motorcyclists from two local Veteran clubs who joined the cause for the day - started the War in The Pacific National Historical Park in Asian Beach. A.K.A The World War II beach landing site. There were several stop along the way at more historical points, including the Guam World War II Memorial, Lone Sailor Monument, Latte of Freedom, Military Order of the Purple Heart Monument, Chief Kepuha Park, Official Guam Seal Park, and the Statue of Liberty Monument at Paseo de Susana Park.
The local support of the hike was overwhelming, with tons of local food trucks on site serving up local plates, fresh fruit, and kettle corn to keep hikers fed all day. Despite a bit of a rainy day, spirits were higher than ever and everyone made the most of it (even when cornhole got rained out.) But we managed to make up for it with tug-o-war and Kubb game!
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.
In front of the Governor's complex, the hike took a collective moment of silence to remember a fallen brother or sister that couldn't be with us today. It was a fitting moment for the theme of the day - which started when lead coordinator Roy Gamboa asked every hiker to pick up a small stone or object before step-off to carry in their pocket for the day. At the end point, he explained that many of us have been carrying a burden for far too long - so he encouraged every hiker to reflect on that burden, release it, and leave it at that last stop.
It was a defining moment of a great day, filled with connections, reunions, and a few serendipitous encounters. Our lead coordinator happened to be speaking with a few active-duty Navy Corpsman, when it so happened that one of them had been working the ER in Guam when he was cardioverted twice last November. He was able to thank her - Kaylyn Kovacs - personally. Connections save lives - literally.
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!
Ambros Inc. - for donating beverages and shirts!
Senator Joe San Agustin
Legends Motorcycle Glub of Guam
Brotherhood of Veterans Motorcycle Club
Veterans of Guam Motorcycle Club
Military Order of the Purple Heart Organization
Guam Cornhole Association
Office of the Governor and Lt. Governor of Guam
Guam Office of Veteran Affairs
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?? 2021GUAM) to every hiker. VET Tv was set up with merch, stickers, and great conversation with hikers.
J . GOODMAN COMPANY - for their generous donation of a mobility scooter to make the hike accessible for everyone.
Heritage Charters- donated a 6-person fishing charter excursion for our raffle.
My Sky Express- a local veteran-owned business that donated tons of water and ice to keep us cool.
Who Made it Possible
The Guam Leadership team consisted of 7 leaders - all from different backgrounds and military affiliations - who all led the hike following the same philosophy, "Inafa Maolek." The phrase described the Chamoru concept of restoring harmony and order. The literal translation is 'to make good.'
JOIN THE DEBAUCHERY
We're planning an even bigger and better hike in Guam next year. If you're looking to get involved, reach out via the IW-Guam Facebook page, or reach out to lead coordinator Roy Gamboa directly at 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-GuamFacebook Page and are contributed by hikers and attendees of the event that are happy to share their photos. Credit for these photos goes to Ron Ritenour, Joe Bento and Rebecca Lee and Daniel Rivera! 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!