David Gill Feb 13, 2019
The internet and social media have a great way of connecting you with all sorts of interesting folk. Back in early January of 2018 I was reading an article about a small nonprofit and the guy who founded it. What struck me about his message and what he wanted to put into place for the Veterans in North Texas and beyond. This was my first introduction to The Warriors Keep and John Cody Hardin.
Having spent several years working in austere environments in tightly knit teams clearing landmines, Cody’s words resonated with me. On leaving either the military or a high-pressured focused job, there is a sense of loss. Loss of the team and a sense of loss and worthiness of a job that brought many rewards. I know that was definitely the case with me. I was fortunate to fall back on leading expeditions, which provided me the opportunity to work with and prepare teams as they travelled into the unknown. By being in the outdoors and allowing myself the ability to work out my next steps, I unknowingly exposed myself to the healing powers of nature.
As I read Cody’s interview I sat there and realized that 40|40 Adventures could make a difference within our own community. I moved to Texas in 2015 and the transition to living in a new country exposed some of the feelings I had on leaving the world of landmines and unexploded ordnance. A feeling of loss of community and entering a new strange world. So, I thought “F@#& it!” I needed to meet John and find out more about The Warriors Keep.
What I discovered over numerous coffees was a man passionate about his fellow veterans and a shared interest in getting that re-connect to nature and enjoying the camaraderie that outdoor pursuits bring. As conversations developed, it led to discussions about overseas expeditions. My experiences of leading overseas expeditions, getting folk out of their home environment and seeing different cultures and challenges has allowed me to witness real change in all participants. Being away from the usual routines and focusing on climbing a mountain gives direction and a sense of accomplishment. Cody and The Warriors Keep made a decision to start an overseas program for their community of Veterans and our first joint project was born Freedom Peak 1 – a climb of Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Getting an expedition together, logistics, team selection and fundraising are all significant factor and for a small nonprofit it can be a daunting experience. We are proud to be on this journey with The Warriors Keep and their team. As the countdown to Kilimanjaro begins, we will continue to write blogs, introduce you to the Veterans and share our journey to the summit.