Wells Fargo & Company (No. 12 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) and No Barriers Warriors announced the team of 12 veterans with disabilities selected to participate in the 2017 Warriors to Summits expedition.
This year's expedition is to Mount Brooks in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska and is scheduled for September 6 -18. Since 2014, Wells Fargo and No Barriers Warriors have taken more than 50 veterans with disabilities on Warriors to Summits expeditions to locations including Mount Whitney in California, Gannett Peak in Wyoming, and Mount Sneffels in Colorado.
"Wells Fargo is proud of the courageous veterans who applied for the 2017 team," said Jerry Quinn, Wells Fargo Military & Veterans Programs manager. "We have seen, time and again, the inspirational transformation that occurs for each of the brave participants and the tangible and lasting impact on their lives. I am humbled by their determination to continue to serve and excel alongside their families and communities."
No Barriers Warriors helps improve the lives of veterans with disabilities through transformative, curriculum-based expeditions in challenging outdoor environments. Each No Barriers Warriors expedition is designed to push veterans mentally and physically in some of nature's most incredible wilderness settings. Through these expeditions and additional experiential offerings, No Barriers Warriors encourages veterans to look beyond personal barriers to reach new heights.
This year, No Barriers Warriors received more than 150 applications and nominations, which featured stories of veterans struggling to transition to civilian life. Many of the applicants who were not selected to participate in this year's Warriors to Summits expedition will attend other No Barriers Warriors experiences to help them achieve a No Barriers mindset.
"We are honored to guide these incredible veterans as they overcome barriers and experience tremendous growth together, "said John Toth, No Barriers Warriors director. "Recognizing the significant challenges they face, it's heartening to know that this team has the support of Wells Fargo and its team members. For the fourth year running, we are proud to work with a company that shares our passion for those who have given so much for our country."
The Warriors to Summits team will hold two team trainings in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, on June 12-16; and the Wind River Range, Wyoming, on July 14 – 20. The training sessions are critical to help the veterans build the skills needed to successfully climb Mount Brooks in the iconic central Alaskan Range in Denali National Park and Preserve. Following the expedition, the veterans and the No Barriers Warriors leaders will gather for a post-expedition developmental session later in the fall, which is an important part of the meaningful engagement phase to keep them on track for personal growth.
The 12 team members selected for the Warriors to Summits expedition face life-altering injuries ranging from emotional and physical trauma, to impaired senses and chronic pain. Some experience combat flashbacks and survivor's guilt, while others continue to struggle with readjusting to civilian life. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are common injuries among the warriors. Despite these challenges, the team of four female veterans and eight male veterans believe in their ability to overcome barriers and realize the expedition represents more than a climb.
The 2017 Warriors to Summits team includes:
- Bradley Chidester – St. George, Utah – Army – PTSD, shrapnel wounds and burns
- Lindsay Carlson Reeves – Worcester, Massachusetts – Army – PTSD, TBI, inner ear damage
- Eric Johnson – Des Moines, Iowa – Army – PTSD, TBI
- Jason Jones – Colorado Springs, Colorado – Army/Marine – PTSD
- Justin Madore – Fort Mill, South Carolina – Army – PTSD, thyroid cancer survivor
- Joni Marquez – King City, California – Air Force – PTSD
- Reena LaVoie – Rhode Island – Navy – PTSD
- Edward Mertz – Burnet, Texas – Navy – PTSD, TBI, renal cancer survivor
- Danny O'Neel – Folsom, California – Army – PTSD, TBI, shrapnel wounds
- Ashley Richards – Bartlett, Tennessee – Air Force – PTSD
- Wade Spann – Falls Church, Virginia – Marine – PTSD, TBI
- Paul Swanner – Boca Raton, Florida – Marine – PTSD, TBI
To learn more about the 12 team members of the 2017 Wells Fargo-sponsored Warriors to Summits expedition, visit WarriorstoSummits.org.