As many of you may know by now, taking care of our veterans is the cause closest to my heart and it is a dream of mine to one day make a real difference in support of our troops and veterans and their families. It was actually through The Heroes Project that I discovered this passion and I thank them for awakening this purpose, this driving force, within me, as it has blessed my life so much in so many ways - & I'm just getting started!
Most notably, I've met just the most amazing people because of it. I got to meet USMC SGT. Kirstie Ennis who's the 1st female veteran to work with THP and will be climbing Carstensz Pyramid this year, USMC SSGT Charlie Linville who's the 1st combat-wounded veteran to summit Everest (2016), USMC CPL. Kionte Storey who summited Vinson Massif in Antarctica (2013), USMC STAFF SGT. Mark Zambon who summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (2012), and I have had the opportunity to get to know two beautiful souls... USMC PFC Isaac Blunt who summited Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia (2013) and his abundantly sweet, vivacious girlfriend, Kami.
Climb for Heroes 2016: On April 3, 2016, I participated in my 1st Climb for Heroes along with my sister Kat and my brother Brandon. It proved to be truly one of the most magical, memorable days of my entire life - to fundraise and contribute to this amazing cause, to chat with several of The Heroes Project veterans along the journey, and to share such an incredible day with my brother and sister while accomplishing something like scaling a mountain! It was a perfect day.
And if you know me, like, at ALL, you know that I am someone who avoids the outdoors at all costs and didn't even own a decent pair of tennis shoes... yup, I hiked all 10,064 feet of Mt. Blady in platform sneakers, LOL! Although I am typically one who's fully prepared, all I really set out to do for this event was to raise money and show up to support and be a part of the festivities of the day... I had absolutely NO intention of summiting.
So you can imagine my surprise when we actually did it! Well, scratch that... there's NO doubt Kat and Brandon could summit; it was me I think we were all worried about, LOL! But thanks to the loving support, boundless dedication, and heartfelt encouragement of Kat and to the miraculous patience, contagious enthusiasm, and mighty tenacity of Brandon (my stuntman brother) who coached us through those last 2 camps... I made it! =) You learn a lot about yourself, the people you're with, and life in general when you climb a mountain. Now I see what all the fuss is about, this whole "hiking" thing, LOL! No, seriously, I came back down that mountain with an even greater appreciation for both my sister and my brother, for myself, for everything I'm fighting for, and, of course, for our veterans who have given so incredibly much for our freedom. It was truly illuminating. And we can't wait to do it again on May 21st!
Last year, we signed up just days before the Climb and continued to fundraise after the event for a couple weeks while the fundraiser was still open. We got to $1,295 thanks to many of you who so generously donated to our campaign! We came in 14th, which isn't bad considering we signed up so last minute, so thank you so much to all of you who gave and to those who shared our posts!
Excited to see how much we can raise this year!!!
About our team's name: My daddy's daddy, Robert Kiyoto Amano, was a member of the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during WW2 and proudly served this great country at a very difficult time for all whose bloodline ancestrally linked them to the enemy. The MIS, the 442nd, and the 100th Infantry Battalion were all comprised of Japanese Americans who fought during WW2... even when mainland west coast Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps. Our grandpa was part of the MIS group that was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on November 2, 2011. It is in honor of him and all of the Japanese Americans who served and continue to serve this country that my sister Kat and I have named our team "Go For Broke" - the motto of the 442nd that means "to wager everything" or "risk everything in an all-out effort." From wikipedia: "The 442nd Regiment was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare."
From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for supporting The Heroes Project and our veterans!
All my love and gratitude,
What is Climb for Heroes?
Climb for Heroes is a non-competitive, family friendly day hike accessible to all fitness levels and age groups. Children, dogs, and elderly will be participating. You can climb with friends and family, form a team, or come alone and meet other climbers at the event. With a minimum donation of just $100 per participant, Climb for Heroes is accessible to everyone. You can pay in full today when you register, or register for free now and fundraise to meet your goal. BUT, don't stop at $100! There are GREAT prizes for highest fundraisers and without your incredible fundraising and your foot stomping, we wouldn't be able to continue our important work.
What does the day look like?
Event check-in and base camp are located at the trailhead at the top of the Mount Baldy Ski lifts parking lot. Check-in begins at 8:00 am and will continue until 10:00 am. Tender Greens restaurant will supply breakfast and the all-important coffee. You just need to bring water, your hiking daypack, a credit card for incidentals, and your fun self. Once you’ve checked in, you can start your hike at any point. At Camp 1, hikers will receive a coin that will be exchanged for a Heroes Project t-shirt at the end of the day. Camp 2 is located another 45 minutes up the mountain and provides an excellent resting point for refreshments at The Notch (the Mount Baldy restaurant), a picture opportunity, or a chair lift down. Hikers can turn around here, or continue on to Camp 3. At each camp (there are five total – including the summit) participants will receive coins redeemable for goodies at the end of the day. Mt. Baldy is 10,064 feet and a little less than 6 miles UP. Don’t worry, we have our veterans situated strategically on the mountain to provide you with inspiration and motivation. But, you can come down at any point, trade your coins for schwag, and hang out with us at base camp eating delicious food (Tender Greens will serve an after hike snack), enjoying beautiful weather and mingling with really good people.
Directions to Mt. Baldy
From Hollywood – Take the 10 East; exit on Mountain Ave. (#54)
From Palm Springs – Take the 10 West; exit on Mountain Ave. (#54)
From the Southbay – Take the 105 East; 605 North; 210 East; exit on Mountain Ave. (#54)
Once off the freeway, simply follow Mountain Avenue UP the mountain. It will become Shin Road. Continue on Shin Road and turn right on Mt. Baldy Road. Or, simply enter this address into your GPS: 8401 Mt. Baldy Road, Mount Baldy, CA 91759