On May 1st, over 120 Veterans gathered in Indianapolis, IN to hike for a cause. Veterans came together from all over the country for the ultimate mission - prevent Veteran suicide with humor, camaraderie, and connection.
**Blog photos are accredited to Matt Crowder @ Immersaf Media
The hike incorporated some of the great military history in Indianapolis – including the Indiana World War Memorial, the USS Indianapolis, the Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial, the 9/11 Memorial, and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
The hike got to enjoy a classic mix of Indiana scenery along the way – from the beach, to downtown Indianapolis, to the state’s signature cornfields. Stops along the way had a dose of local flavor – hikers were more than welcomed by local breweries, distilleries, food trucks, and restaurants like Kilroy’s Bar & Grill and 16-Bit Bar & Arcade.
Highlights of the day were the Tug-O-War contest (an IW hike never misses the chance to be competitive) and the hotdog-mouth-catching-contest (patent pending). But the greatest highlight was watching connections happen between complete strangers – and watching nervous first-time hikers become a part of the family in a matter of hours.
"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."
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.
There were new connections made, but also reunions we all got to witness. One new hiker reunited at check-in with a childhood friend - they grew up together, then each went their separate ways in the Service, and then reunited for the first time at the hike. Talk about chills.
Huge shout out to a few local businesses that hosted us for stops along the way:
Kilroy's Bar & Grill - for the great atmosphere and great drinks & food
16-Bit Bar & Arcade – for welcoming us with drinks and food specials.
Also a huge thanks to a few local Veteran-owned businesses that had a huge role in making this hike such a success.
Hotel Tango - was setup with their famous Bloody Mary's at kick-off
Dappy Hay's Photo Booth - Their setup was an absolute blast during the after-party. Thanks for a great time, guys!
Gnomingo's Design Co – donated two beautiful hand-crafted wavy wooden flags for our raffle. They were stunning.
Purple Beard Creation – donated a handmade crocheted Irreverent Warriors blanket!
Matt Crowder @ Immersaf Media – donated his time and equipment to take some AMAZING photos of the hike completely free of charge. Thanks so much for your support, Matt! You can check out all of the photos he took of the hike here. **ALL Photos on this blog bost are credited to Matt and his amazing photography talents!
This hike would not have been possible without our 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 to every hiker. VET Tv was set up with merch, stickers, and great conversation with hikers.
National American Legion with the OCW Grant
Marine Foundation of Indiana
IN-Women Marine Foundation
The Moon Family- in remembrance of CWO2 Jason Moon
Indy Paintball Battleground
Ed Martin Acura
AMVets Post 99
American Legion Post 276
A special thank you to the businesses and individuals who donated to our cause and helped make this hike so successful!
American Legion Post 522, American Legion Post 360 & AMVets 99 - all donated drinks & snacks for each of our rest stops along the hike.
Vape N More- donated over $500 in merchandise for raffles and auction items.
Who Made it Possible
Samantha Dula (Marine Corps)- Lead Coordinator
Jason Black (Army) - Media Guru
Stacy Boehm (Army National Guard)- American Legion Liasion
Josh Porter (Marine Corps) - Assistant Coordinator
Nicole York - Volunteer Coordinator
Shout-out to every member of this team that went above and beyond to make this hike a success. Everyone knew their unique strengths and ran with them – resulting in great sponsors, a smooth route, great media coverage, a hiccup-free hike day, great promotion and organization, and – above all else – a great team spirit.
JOIN THE DEBAUCHERY
Big things are happening for this hike next year!
If you want to get involved, reach out via the IW I Facebook Page. We’re always looking to add extra hands to the team! Or reach out to lead coordinator Samantha Dula directly at
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.