21 Organizations Trying To Get Veterans Active In Outdoorsmanship

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Kyle Stozek climbs Turtle Rock near Buena Vista, Colo. He was one of several veterans participating in an Outward Bound veteran expedition.
Photo by Samantha Quigley

When I came home from war, it was time outside that kept me alive, and ultimately connected me to a community of veterans and non-veterans who helped me later to thrive. I realized it was the country --- the very physical country contained in all its forests, mountains, beaches, tundra, prairie, and everything in between --- that I fought for. It was these lands and trees and waters that allowed me to meet my fellow resident as an equal; we had the same opportunities, we had the same access. Even if we didn’t have all of our limbs, or all of our mind still with us, we could make what we chose to make of a day outside.


As summer starts, I want you to get out there, find a new mission in a mountain to climb or a river to run, or even an adventure in your local park or backyard. Rather than continue to wax poetically about the beauty of the outdoors, take a look through the list below for opportunities available to you, and get outdoors.

This list is meant as a starting point for individual research and decision-making and is certainly not exhaustive. Please list other resources in the comments section and we’ll update this as we learn about more organizations.

A great place to start sifting through the support providers and support wanted or needed listings can be found at Warrior Gateway, which provides a number of different resources for service members and veterans to connect.

All military members and their dependents have free access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites and public lands through a program called America the Beautiful. Be sure to check out the locations closest to you and your family and pick up a pass right away.

Obviously, we at Sierra Club Outdoors are very proud of the many opportunities we provide for service members, veterans and their families. More information on trips and activities can always be found at our blog and website. Additionally, all veterans and military family members receive 10% off our national outings.

One of the programs we’ve had the opportunity to partner with is the National Military Family Association’s Operation Purple Program, which sends military kids to summer camp where they can connect with children from other military families.

A number of outdoor recreation and recreational therapy organizations have come together to form the R4 Alliance to try and minimize the challenges of finding the right opportunities and support organizations for military personnel and families.

Additionally, here are some other valuable organizations to check out:

Now get outside!

Stacy Bare is a climber, aspiring mountaineer, sometimes surfer, and OIF vet who is currently the director of Sierra Club Outdoors. He is a proud graduate of the University of Mississippi and lives with his wife in Utah.

(Associated Press/Gregory Bull)

The Navy has paused proceedings that could strip Eddie Gallagher and three other SEALs of their tridents while the service awaits a written order to formally stand down, a senior Navy official told Task & Purpose on Thursday.

Rear Adm. Collin Green, the head of Naval Special Warfare Command, was expected to decide on the matter after the SEALs appeared before a review board next month. But Trump tweeted on Thursday that Gallagher was in no danger of losing his trident, a sacred symbol of being part of the SEAL community.

"The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher's Trident Pin," the president tweeted. "This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!"

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(Task & Purpose photo illustration by Paul Szoldra)

Jordan Way was living a waking nightmare.

The 23-year-old sailor laid in bed trembling. At times, his body would shake violently as he sobbed. He had recently undergone a routine shoulder surgery on Dec. 12, 2017, and was hoping to recover.

Instead, Jordan couldn't do much of anything other than think about the pain. Simple tasks like showering, dressing himself, or going to the bathroom alone were out of the question, and the excruciating sensation in his shoulder made lying down to sleep feel like torture.

"Imagine being asleep," he called to tell his mother Suzi at one point, "but you can still feel the pain."

To help, military doctors gave Jordan oxycodone, a powerful semi-synthetic opiate they prescribed to dull the sensation in his shoulder. Navy medical records show that he went on to take more than 80 doses of the drug in the days following the surgery, dutifully following doctor's orders to the letter.

Instinctively, Jordan, a Navy corpsman who by day worked at the Twentynine Palms naval hospital where he was now a patient, knew something was wrong. The drugs seemed to have little effect. His parents advised him to seek outside medical advice, but base doctors insisted the drugs just needed more time to work.

"They've got my back," Jordan had told his parents before the surgery, which happened on a Tuesday. By Saturday, he was dead.

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T-38 Talon training aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Two airmen from Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, were killed on Thursday when two T-38 Talon training aircraft crashed during training mission, according to a message posted on the base's Facebook age.

The two airmen's names are being withheld pending next of kin notification.

A total of four airmen were onboard the aircraft at the time of the incident, base officials had previously announced.

The medical conditions for the other two people involved in the crash was not immediately known.

An investigation will be launched to determine the cause of the crash.

Emergency responders from Vance Air Force Base are at the crash scene to treat casualties and help with recovery efforts.

Read the entire message below:

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Two Vance Air Force Base Airmen were killed in an aircraft mishap at approximately 9:10 a.m. today.

At the time of the accident, the aircraft were performing a training mission.

Vance emergency response personnel are on scene to treat casualties and assist in recovery efforts.

Names of the deceased will be withheld pending next of kin notification.

A safety investigation team will investigate the incident.

Additional details will be provided as information becomes available. #VanceUpdates.

This is a breaking news story. It will be updated as more information is released.

The commander of the Marine Corps' Wounded Warrior Regiment has been relieved over a loss of "trust and confidence in his ability to lead" amid an investigation into his conduct, a Corps official told Task & Purpose on Thursday.

Col. Lawrence F. Miller was removed from his post on Thursday morning and replaced with his executive officer, Lt. Col. Larry Coleman, who will serve as interim commander of the Quantico, Virginia based unit.

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President Donald Trump has nixed any effort by the Navy to excommunicate Eddie Gallagher from the SEAL community.

"The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher's Trident Pin," the president tweeted on Thursday. "This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!"

Read More Show Less