Day -2: Santa Rosa bound!
1 year ago: The idea for the Team Jesse Foundation and The Ride came about while hiking the Napoli coast in Kauai, Hawaii in June 2010 with my wife Heather. I somehow convinced her to spend our 7 year anniversary on a 3 day hike! The trail is called the Kalalau Trail and its quiet magnificent, although extremely challenging. During those 3 days we discussed my passion for fulfilling my promise to my dear friend Jesse Williams and we decided I could do more. Helping other families of the fallen would extend this promise and honor my fallen comrade. The Team Jesse Foundation was unofficially born. We came up with the concept of The Ride and talks continued upon returning home. In the Fall 2010, we filed to become a IRS recognized 501(c)(3) charitable organization with a mission to provide education and support for families of fallen soldiers. It has been all downhill from there! Today: Heather, my 2 dogs Java and Moka, and myself leave for Santa Rosa, California in a couple hours. My good friend Steve Camposan is here in Seattle helping us with final preparations. Steve is a combat infantryman and served 2 tours of duty in Iraq. He was also a good friend of Jesse’s as all 3 of us were in the same scout platoon in 5-20 Infantry. We will drive down to Santa Rosa in the support vehicle, arriving tomorrow afternoon. Matt Sauri will join us then as we prepare for Wednesday evenings kickoff event and the first day from Santa Rosa to Vacaville on Thursday morning.
The last couple weeks have been quite eventful. On Friday, May 27th, I took my indoor trainer to Mercer Island High School and sat in the lunchroom for 6 ½ hours and spoke to students about the mission as I pedaled away. Brett Bowker, who will be capturing The Ride on video, was there and he got some great footage of me discussing The Ride and my military experience with students and faculty.
On Saturday, May 28th, Mercer Island Varsity Lacrosse, which I am an assistance coach for, captured the Washington State boys lacrosse championship with a 5-3 win of Bainbridge Island. I am most proud of my goaltender Brian Bernstein, who played lights-out in this barnburner. Brian also received Academic All-American honors for his performance on the field and in the classroom in 2011. Check out the highlights:
Matt and I have been training hard together every weekend for the past couple months. During the week, we trained on our own to get ready for The Ride. It’s been a challenging spring with training, the coaching and, oh yeah, I had a full time job as well!
One of my biggest regrets about my Army experience is that I didn’t capture my experiences on paper (or on a computer). I intend to post regular updates throughout this mission. I will try to keep it interesting and, at times, amusing (hopefully). Mostly, I will be myself and report the truth. My integrity throughout this entire experience is most important to me. It is what Jesse saw in me when he asked that I look after his daughter financially if the unthinkable happened. Well brother – I know you are watching and this is an extension of that. I will make you proud and you will inspire me to never quit.
To the limit,