I'm raising money for veterans and at-risk service members. Donations will go to an organization that can help stem the tide of suicide for our 22 to 50 a day! Support my campaign to follow my progress and please share!
22 suicides a day has been said to be underreported. According to America's Warrior Partnership the number is closer to 50 a day. 50 a day! It seems like these numbers, even the low estimate at 22 a day, has not changed. Why? Everything that can be done is being done with the VA, counseling, and medications. What's missing?
Kevin Morehead was a teammate of mine on our Special Forces team for years and died in Al Ramadi, Iraq in September 2003. He was one of the first SF KIAs then. I was on my way back to being on the team when this happened. It profoundly affected me. My junior, SSG Paul Mardis, died July 2004. All the way back in 1997 or 98, Kevin and I were waiting to get on a flight going on a deployment somewhere. We both spent our time reading “Into Thin Air.” It was about the 1996 expedition to Everest.
We were inspired by the idea of going. We said when we had the chance, we would. Fast forward to October 2014, after I had retired from active duty, I went to fulfill our dream, but I only went to Everest Basecamp. I dedicated this trip to him.
Since that climb, I have been planning on going back somehow and some way. It’s something I train for, continue to learn about, collect gear for, and think of ways to go on the next expedition. Something inside me needs to go back. I guess our mission isn’t complete. Thankfully, the funding to climb on the 2023 expedition has already been secured.
I do not want to do this for myself. It’s got to have (and does have) a higher purpose. Years ago, a combat healing non-profit started me out on the right track. And again recently, another non-profit generously sent me on a short trip. Both of these experiences made a huge impact on my life. After leaving the military, It had been ten years since I had spoken or seen the guys I used to serve with. I was ashamed, but then getting back together with some of them brought healing and some more closure. My confidence was back, so I went to Fort Campbell to see everyone and did not regret it. We are never done getting even better. Everyone has highs and lows, forgets the lessons they learned, and sometimes revert back to old thinking.
Recently reflecting, it was eighteen years ago in May 2004, when I and Paul were seriously wounded by an IED in Mosul, Iraq. The explosion eventually took his life while still at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I was changed for life by this experience too. But, regardless, I soldiered on trying to recover from my wounds and, at the same time, returned time and time again to the war in Iraq. Walter Reed could only do so much, and the rest was left mostly up to me. I’ll never know what all caused my continual decline before needing to be medically retired in 2013. By then, I had 23 years active duty and 29 total years service accumulated. I suppose I was just tired and worn out. Nevertheless, I became increasingly socially withdrawn leading up to my retirement. No doubt, my eventual condition was probably a result of lingering TBI, PTSD, chronic pain, and exhaustion issues. I could have ended up as a suicide statistic. In fact, I almost had.
I say all this to say, I believe in what these non-profits are doing. More of what they are doing can only help more veterans and service members. It's my hope my expedition to Everest April thru May, 2023 could be of assistance. If we can help raise awareness and support through this campaign to assist more of our vets and at-risk service members, then we'll be making a real difference. I would be honored and proud to take a banner, patch, sign, or organizational flag to the top of Everest for this cause. A picture is worth a thousand words.
The campaign is called “Mission - Roll Call - 29,032 Ft - Everest”. It is intended to do a few things: Complete the mission for Master Sergeant Kevin Morehead who lived out his life by always “leading the way”, raise or “Elevate” awareness for veteran suicide, and secure donations for REBOOT Recovery, a program I and many others highly recommend. In order to heal, veterans and service members need to be linked together through organizations such as this where an unbroken chain can be established.
“Roll Call” symbolizes our lives as soldiers. While in the service, we stand in formation and are counted or accounted for. And when a fellow warrior falls in combat, we conduct a roll call where we ask three times to report, and we find that our fallen are not present. 22 veterans a day dying by suicide means that 29, 032 men and women take their lives every 3 1/2 years; an average term of one enlistment. Or, the newest statistic researched and collected by America’s Warrior Partnership, estimates that the number of suicides is more like 50 a day. So, 29, 032 is reached in roughly 1 1/2 years; the time it has taken me to train and eventually climb Mount Everest.
We are stronger together than apart. Veterans can save other vets from suicide because vets understand other veterans. But we have to be connected, an unbroken chain, where we can be counted in the ranks.
I would start documenting and reporting on the preparations and the climb itself in real-time. Your trust gained through my offering total transparency in action and deed (especially when considering your potential financial support) is my highest priority. I want everyone to feel connected and part of this journey, especially as Kevin's helmet cover makes the summit. (please see the video)..
I hope this information helps you in deciding how best to support this worthy cause. I can do the training and climbing but need all of you to help us bring this mission full circle - where Master Sergeant Kevin Morehead, SSG Paul Mardis, our fallen, and those who continue to fall can finally stand on the top – completing the mission with every one of you by our side.
Thanks for taking the time to consider this project. I'll be reaching out again in the coming days, weeks, and months. God bless.
De Oppresso Liber
Don Kabrich (US Army Special Forces)
Upon request, for those who want and their donations are 290.00 or more will receive a signed copy of "Where the Heart Lies" (Second Ed)..
Below is link and QR code for Apple Pay and is also an additional location to use cards. Or, you can just use the donate button or any of the themed buttons on the side.
Can’t donate? Please share. Even a quick share on Facebook can help.
The average share raises $97.