On May 29th, over 90 Veteran hikers gathered in Milford, Massachusetts 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 2021MILFORDMA.
The hike started with a long stretch down a Milford bike path that dumped into downtown where we finished. The day was standard for Massachusetts - a little cold and a little rainy. But, no one can embrace the suck of a wet and cool day like a bunch of Vets dedicated to a cause. It was no different this time. Despite the weather, spirits were always up and it seemed like no one stopped laughing.
A staple of the hike is usually the Draper Memorial Park, but this year it was under renovations. Not to be discouraged, the hike made up for it with tons of stops at local spots - Casey's, Pepperocini's, Blue Dog, Italian American War Veterans Post 40, CraftRoots Brewing, Johnny Jack, and Depot Tavern. The local support for this hike is always a force to be reckoned with.
"A different kind of hike. One where you can just chill and get to know people."
-Jesse, 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 there were a few that warrant specific mention.
On previous hikes during the stop at the Draper Memorial Park, hikers, coordinators, and volunteers alike would take a pause to reflect on how important we are to each other. With the memorial being closed, the location had to be improvised, but the conversation stayed the same. Hikers reflected on the brothers and sisters we've lost, but how they would have wanted us to stick around. For ourselves and for each other.
Huge shout out to a few local businesses that hosted us for stops along the way:
ITAM Post 40
This hike would not have been possible without our other amazing 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?? 2021MILFORDMA) to every hiker. VET Tv was set up with merch, stickers, and great conversation with hikers.
Medway VFW Post 1526 - for their donations and being a great pillar of support for this hike.
Who Made it Possible
Jesse (USMC) - Lead Coordinator
Tom (USMC) - Assistant Coordinator
Val - Volunteer Coordinator
Bob- Volunteer Coordinator
This team first came together in 2015 for the first Milford silkies hike - back when the whole concept of a Silkies Hike was new and quite... informal. Tom and Jesse met at a local Dunkin Donuts, and then a month later we had a hike. Self-admittedly, they had no idea what they were doing. But once Val and Bob joined the team, they started to figure it out. Now, they're responsible for this awesome hike and bringing hundreds of Veterans together.
JOIN THE DEBAUCHERY
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.