On May 22nd, over 100 Veteran hikers and dedicated volunteers gathered in Knoxville, TN 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 2021KNOXVILLE.
The hike route wound mainly through the downtown Knoxville area, with stops at a few local breweries, and a great lunch stop at a serene park next to the Third Creek that runs through downtown. Our first stop was at the Blackhorse brewery, that was kind enough to open their doors to us early and let hikers relax for a few before getting back at it.
The hike continued past the Farmer's Market (for maximum exposure!), and down Cumberland Avenue near the University of Tennessee campus. A landmark stop was made at the Veteran's Memorial in the historic World's Fair Park, where we took advantage of a Photo Op to take pictures of hikers by branch. The final stop before wrap-up was at Pour's Taproom, another local staple that welcomed us with open arms.
"One quote could never sum up this hike."
-Aaron Lee, 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. From first-time hikers finding a second family, to individual funny moments like Mayor Glenn Jacobs holding up the signatory "Russell" sign for Russell Oxley, this hike was a complete embodiment of the Irreverent Warriors mission.
Lead coordinator Aaron Lee was overwhelmed (in the best way possible) by the number of hikers coming up to him and expressing appreciation, talking about how much the hike has helped them through tough times. We fought together, and now we recover together. That's what this is all about.
Thank you to all the local businesses and individuals who provided generous donations of food, drinks, and monetary contributions that helped make this hike what it was!
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?? 2021KNOXVILLE) to every hiker. VET Tv was set up with merch, stickers, and great conversation with hikers.
Paintless Dents & Detail
The Axe House- Pigeon Forge Sevierville
Off Leash K-9 Training
Coulter, Justice, PC
Jelly Belly - The Original Gourmet Jelly Bean
Rocky Top Bourbon Charity
Who Made it Possible
Aaron Lee (USMC) - Lead Coordinator
Bill Butler (USMC) - Assistant Coordinator
Candie Bobick (USMC) - Assistant Coordinator
John Kirkegaard (Army) - Assistant Coordinator
Richard Barber (USMC) - Volunteer Coordinator
Sylvia Barber (USMC Spouse)- Volunteer Coordinator
This was a small but extremely dedicated team that went above and beyond at every turn to make this hike a success. Most of this team started their journey with us at the first Knoxville hike last year, and everyone clearly brought their "A" game to make sure this hike was even better than the first. None of this would have been possible without them.
JOIN THE DEBAUCHERY
If you want to get involved, reach out to lead coordinator Aaron Lee 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org so we can accredit it.