BillySpeak1Last week, in the midst of preparing to ascend one of the 7 Summits of the World, our Challenge Warriors took some time off and traveled to the James A Haley VA Hospital.

They were on a mission.

This time it wasn’t about scaling the side of a mountain or trekking across icy terrain or gathering data for evidence based studies in the field or replenishing dying reefs undersea.

It was instilling hope and dispensing inspiration by being who they are and sharing themselves with other veterans who have lost a lot. Just like them.

The CWVC Challenge Team sat across from wounded warriors and looked these vets in the eyes as they shared their stories. The losses, the rebuilding of lives torn apart by war. One minute they were fine and the next they were not.

As Billy Costello said, “Hey, I by accident stepped on an IED and it changed everything.”

Expedition Leader Pete Quintanilla and Roland Vaughan explained that CWVC helped transform their perspective and provided an opportunity to go out and accomplish things. Slowly a transition occurred, with all of these warriors as living proof that perseverance pays off.

“We are going to climb one of the Seven Summits of the World,” said Bryan Wiedle. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m excited to do it with this group of guys.”

It was time to leave. Wheelchair bound warriors joked and mingled with the CWVC team as they offered encouragement to one another. “Keep up the rehab….Stay safe up there!”

They all walked away a little bit more inspired by the experience and better for it.

The Haley Vet group plans to keep track of the CWVC Aconcagua Summit Team’s progress by checking our website starting February 7-February 28. The team will post daily updates (photo, thoughts and perhaps videos) based on the ascent schedule and weather permitting.