Warrior Hike is a non-profit fundraising effort whose mission is to help wounded veterans. Marine Captains Mark Silvers 26, of Danville and Sean Goblin, 36 of Rhode Island have recently returned from Afghanistan.
Dan Karnes, President of the Roanoke Valley Veterans Council, brought Silvers and Goblin by the DAV in Salem Friday. Salem is about the halfway point of their 2180-mile Appalachian Trail journey.
Goblin said while in Afghanistan they saw a lot of debilitating injuries at the hospital and they asked themselves “what can we do to help the situation?”
Goblin and Silvers decided that they wanted to make a difference in the lives of wounded veterans. They began their hike in Georgia on March 15 and have raised $9000 so far. They continued their hike on Saturday morning.
They will host 38 separate fundraisers at VFW Posts along the trail in order to purchase adaptive vehicles for veterans who have suffered multiple amputations during combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. One hundred percent of the donations will go towards the adaptive vehicles.
Silvers enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2006 and received his commission following graduation from the University of Virginia. He was deployed in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010. After completing the Warrior Hike he plans to pursue a Masters Degree in Business Administration.
Gobin enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1994 as an infantryman and received his commission after graduating from the University of Mississippi in 2001. He served as a platoon commander in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and again in 2005. He also plans to pursue a Masters Degree in Business Administration at UVA.
They realized that the service men who lost legs and are in the recovery process can apply to the V-A for a $19,000 grant that goes toward the cost of an adaptive vehicle. It then needs to be fitted to the service veteran’s needs. “That doesn’t come close to the actual cost of the vehicle – up to $10,000 more is usually needed,” said Gobin.
Their mission is to raise the extra money for those veterans that can’t afford the extra cost. “They run into a lot of other veterans on the trail,” said Gobin. “There are a lot of veterans that are hiking the trail and transitioning from military to civilian life.” They hope to recruit other veterans to keep the fundraiser going and make Salem one of their regular stops.
For more information go to their website at www.warriorhike.com and “LIKE” their facebook page.