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Camp Patriot Helping Disabled Veterans Climb Mt. Rainier

AMK is proud to sponsor Camp Patriot – an organization that was formed to take Disabled U.S. Veterans on outdoor adventures.  On July 5th, they will have their annual fundraiser kick off dinner.   This phenomenal event at Quest Field will feature Ed Viesturs as the guest speaker and functions as a fundraiser and kick off for their 2009 Mt. Rainier climb. This year’s climb scheduled for July 7th-10th includes three injured veterans. Read their bios and the 2009 Quest info below.

Camp Patriot’s adventures are made possible through donations and volunteerism. Follow along with the team at and help “Give Back to those who have given”.

If you are interested in attending this event and supporting the team, please contact Kim Roscoe @ 253-332-6207

From Curtis Fawley and Camp

Our plans for this summer’s climb of Mt. Rainier are firmly in place and soon the team will be gathering at Sea/Tac airport anticipating another great adventure. Our group of injured Veterans includes three fantastic individuals each with incredible stories of perseverance. Please see their bios below.

On July 5th we are excited to send our team off on their expedition in style with a “kick off” dinner at the Seattle Seahawks, Qwest Field. This fundraiser will include guest speaker, Ed Viesturs, recently back from his 7th successful summit of Mt. Everest. Ed will have many great stories and photos to share with the team.

On July 6th the climbing team will travel to the town of Ashford, WA – at the base of the Mt. Rainier. In Ashford, we will organize and pack all the climbing gear, food, and supplies necessary for our three days on the 14,411 ft. peak.

Departing early on July 7th, our team will hike up the Muir Snowfield to the 10,000’ elevation of Camp Muir. This will be our base camp for the next three nights. July 8th will be spent training on the Cowlitz Glacier adjacent to Camp Muir. Working on skills such as ice axe arrest, crampon techniques, rope team travel, we will prepare for our summit attempt.

We will begin our ascent to the summit in the darkness of the very early morning hours of July 9th. Climbing under the glow of headlamps for the first hours of the climb, the team will travel roped together, negotiating the crevassed icy glaciers, and narrow rock ledges which are so prevalent on the upper reaches of Mt. Rainier. If all goes well with the team, route, and weather, we should be standing on the summit crater rim by the time most folks are arriving at work down in Seattle.

The Camp Patriot team will break camp early on July 10th, descend the Muir Snowfield back to the trail head of Paradise, and return to Ashford for a big celebration BBQ. The afternoon BBQ is open to the public, so stop by the RMI Base Camp in Ashford to congratulate our heroes for all their successes in life! A small way to pay these guys back for all the sacrifices and commitments they have made to our Country.

All of Camp Patriot’s fantastic adventures are made possible through the generous donations and tireless volunteerism of many true patriots. Follow along with the team at Camp, and help “Give Back to Those Who Have Given”.

And here are our heroes’ stories:

Sergeant First Class, Mario Barragan began his military career in 1990, serving 3 ½ years with the Marines Reserves. In August of 1993, SFC Barragan switched his service to active duty Army and in 1999, he was selected to join Special Operations Command. SFC Barragan is currently stationed at Ft. Bragg; ODA 7126, 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

On July 13th, 2008, while engaged in a battle in Kajaki Sofla in the Helmand Province Afghanistan, SFC Barragan’s vehicle struck an IED. SFC Barragan and a member of his team were wounded and one was KIA. SFC Barragan suffered blunt trauma to his face and shrapnel to his right leg. He is now in the last phase of facial reconstruction. Due to loss of 75% of his right mandible and chin, SFC Barragan has gone through 8 facial surgeries with 1 remaining (hopefully) on the 14th of July, 2009. He has also had 3 surgeries to right leg.

SFC Barragan has spent a total of five months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and is now back at Ft Bragg, still travelling to Walter Reed for all his procedures. SFC Barragan is hoping and praying he will be released from medical care in August, returning to what he considers he does best!!!

1st Lieutenant Reinaldo Gonzalez II is a 26 year old Army Officer from the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area. He is a 2006 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations and was commissioned as an Infantry Second Lieutenant.

On January 15, 2007, while negotiating an obstacle course in Ranger School, Lieutenant Gonzalez fell 35 feet head first and sustained a C-4 incomplete Spinal Cord Injury, rendering him paralyzed from the neck down. Upon impact, Lieutenant Gonzalez was transferred to the Columbus Regional Medical Center and received continuing care at the Bronx VA Medical Center, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Tampa VA Medical Center, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, and the Shepherd Center. All total, Lieutenant Gonzalez spent more than five months in the hospital and over two years receiving outpatient rehabilitation care.

Today, he can walk, run, and participate in a host of other physical activities. He credits his family for all their support, without which would have drastically impacted the recovery process and prevented him from having a hope of returning to and completing Ranger School.

Sergeant First Class Jesse Yandell enlisted as an Infantryman in the Army on July 16, 1996. After spending one year at Ft. Lewis, Washington, he was relocated to Schoefield Barracks Hawaii. Upon reaching the Grade of E-5, SFC Yandell volunteered for the 75th Ranger Regiment, completed Ranger Orientation Course, and was reassigned to 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia. Since August of 2002, SFC Yandell has deployed in support of the OIF and OEF a total of 10 times, with 6 deployments to Iraq and 4 to Afghanistan.

On the night of October 26 2008, SFC Yandell was conducting a dismounted infiltration in support of a Special Operations Raid in Afghanistan. His Platoon came under intense small arms, rocket, and mortar fire. While SFC Yandell was conducting Casualty Collection Point Operations (CCP) of another wounded Ranger, his CCP was hit by small arms fire and a rocket propelled grenade. SFC Yandell was subsequently wounded in the upper left chest. After being evacuated to his next stage of care, it was determined that SFC Yandell had shrapnel throughout his upper chest cavity, and also on the muscle that surrounded his heart. Upon closer evaluation at Hunter Army Airfield, it was deemed that further surgery would be needed for him to continue his service to his country and remain a member of the Ranger Regiment. Jesse then opted for exploratory surgery in the vicinity of his heart, and that surgery turned out to be successful as a 2.7cm piece of shrapnel was removed from the sensitive area.

Currently SFC Yandell is serving as the Battalion Operations NCO for 1st Ranger Battalion and is scheduled to make his unit’s upcoming deployment in support of OEF. He looks forward to conquering the mountain, and being a part of the Camp Patriot Team.

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