David Paulk, PA-C, EdD, DFAAPA is a Professor and the Director of the Physician’s Assistant Program at the Murphy Deming College of Health Science at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton VA. However, before he came to Staunton he was a white water river guide in the western regions of the U.S. among many other things. Dave, or Big Wave Dave, has had to overcome the direst of situations to get to where he is today. Unfortunately, Dave experienced a life threatening event that resulted in a broken neck. He truly had to re learn everything; walking, talking, eating....everything! Needless to say, the fight was on. Eventually Dave fought and won this battle. But he wasn’t finished. He set his sights on other battles. Once a fighter, always a fighter is what we say. Along with leading and teaching at the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, he is also an active advocate and member of the Board of Directors for our local chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness. Dave truly has a passion for helping with and fighting this cause. If there is any cause that needs fighting, it's Mental Health Awareness. Dave asked us how he could help out and we think we have the solution. Dave is truly an outdoorsman. To answer his call to the WILD and to bring more awareness for mental health resources, Dave has agreed to hike the Appalachian Trail through the Shenandoah National Park. That's 107.1 miles from Front Royal, VA to Rockfish Gap, VA. He'll have to make sure he has plenty of water and that his boots are laced tight because he'll be hoofing it up elevations starting at just a few hundred feet all the way up to 3,900ft. Dave likes to be challenged..... (That’s a statement for Captain Obvious if we ever heard one)... but he also wants to challenge you!! Dave wants to use his Mental Wellness Hike for Health to raise money for our local NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) chapter. We use all of our donations to give right back to the community. We are looking to provide a Peer to Peer Support Group, a Family to Family Support Group. We also want to start a Medication Fund to provide short term scholarships to those who are short on their medications, or provide scholarships for local members to attend mental wellness conventions and seminars. We are also looking to raise awareness for the extreme need this local area has for a Crisis Stabilization Center and a local Substance Use Detoxification Inpatient Program. These are hefty goals, we know. We also realize that goals like this require funding. This is where you come in. Dave and NAMI would like to raise $5,000. If we raise the FULL amount, Dave will hike the entire 107.1 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Also, at the end of the event, NAMI will randomly pull out three names. The first name will receive a $125.00 gift certificate to Staunton's own Zynodoa restaurant. The second and third persons drawn will receive a $50 gift certificate to Staunton's own Mill Street Grille and a $25 gift certificate to Staunton's own Byer's Street Bistro. Dave will be setting off on April 2nd and will be tracking our progress during his hike. The more dollars he see’s the better his motivation will be. He is planning to end his 107.1 mile hike by April 15th. We want Dave to finish the entire hike, but we need your money to do so. Let's get those funds flowing! (To learn more about NAMI, please visit our state website at http://namivirginia.org/ or call Dustin Wright, Board Member, at Valley Community Services Board at 540-213-7325) We truly appreciate your support... and so does Big Wave Dave!