OLD FORT — Folks in the area will have a special opportunity to pay tribute to veterans with an outdoor activity ahead of this coming Memorial Day weekend.
The inaugural Everesting for Veterans event, organized by Alivecubed, will take place in McDowell County this Friday, starting at 7 p.m. and running for 24 hours. The location will be Indigo Retreat at 1037 Newberry Creek Road in Old Fort.
“The idea is we’re going to be climbing a forest road that goes about 2.5 miles up and 2.5 miles down and over the 2.5 miles, it’s about 1,300 feet of climbing,” said Alex Garcia, the event’s organizer. It’s a 24-hour event. You can walk it, you can run it, you can bike it, you can hike it.
“However you want to do it, as many times as you like — one time, 10 times, 20 times. We’re going to be climbing in recognition of our veterans to show them that we care, we love them and we want to support them. The other side of it is it’s all donation-based.”
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This year’s event came out of Garcia’s solo bike ride last year up N.C. Highway 80 a total of 22 times, an elevation climb roughly equaling the height of Mt. Everest. Making the Newberry Hill climb 22 times this year will equal about the same height of about 29,000 feet. Garcia wants to make his 22 climbs in 24 hours this year. Garcia also told The News Herald last year that the number 22 is significant to this mission because that is the approximate number of veterans who commit suicide every day.
“We are supporting a guy named Travis Jordan,” Garcia said. “Last year, he had a barn in Nebo that burned down. Alivecubed put together some funds from a race that we hosted last year and we used it to help rebuild this barn. His barn is $800 from being complete — basically some of the inside stuff, some insulation and some flooring and stuff needs to be done.
“The purpose of the barn is connecting veterans with PTSD. They host weekly meetings and from those meetings, they get together and cut firewood, grow crops and (raise) some farm animals there. The purpose of using those resources — the wood, the crops and the animals — is to support local need. (It supports) people who need wood for warmth and for cooking. It can be veterans and also people just in general who need help. (It’s the) same thing with the crops. Those crop gardens and everything are already laid out. A portion of it is already happening.”
Garcia said it’s important to help see the barn project through to completion so its mission can be carried out. Jordan is a Marine veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom who suffered severe PTSD and traumatic brain injury during service in 2007. Since then, Jordan has done great work through the barn mission, Garcia said.
“The great thing with this is not only are these veterans coming together and supporting each other, they’re supporting a greater purpose,” Garcia said. “With that, we feel like we’re really helping people. Travis, specifically, is really helping people. I know for a fact that he’s already saved several lives of veterans who have thought about committing suicide.”
Hamburgers and hot dogs will be provided and cooked onsite by Jordan. For more specific questions about the event, contact Garcia by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justin Epley can be reached at email@example.com or 828-432-8943.