Kyle Butcher has never been one to shy away from a challenge. He entered into active duty in 2003, attending Airborne School and then training for the Army’s premier 75th Ranger Regiment. Butcher served for just 18 months in two Middle Eastern deployments before he was wounded in action in Mosul, Iraq. His military career ended in 2005, when he left the Army with two Army Commendation medals, a Purple Heart, and his thrill-seeking nature intact.
Enter the Boot Campaign and the partnership with the Never Quit Challenge – Pacific Crossing (NQC-PC). Over Veterans Day weekend 2013, six soldiers of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan met in San Diego, Calif. for what would be a 135-mile Jet Ski odyssey on the Pacific Ocean. Butcher was one of them.
From the beginning, the camaraderie among the organizational team and veterans was evident. Boot Campaign staffers Brandi, Gwen, and Leigh Ann joined NQC-PC and Phoenix Patriot Foundation members in welcoming the military participants in San Diego. Butcher recalls, “It was a feeling of friendship right off the bat. They made us feel welcome and kept the entire trip a great and well-planned event.”
The expedition on the ocean began with training on November 8. The following day the teams set off for Oceanside, the first stop on the adventure. After Oceanside came a pit stop in Dana Point, then the riders reached the finish line in San Pedro. There was even a bit of sunlight left in the day, giving the veterans time to cruise around San Pedro and rack up a few more miles on their personal watercraft.
In addition to raising funds and awareness for the struggles our servicemen and women face during and after their enlistment, the goal of the weekend was to give the six veterans a weekend of fun, relaxation, and a respite from everyday challenges. According to Butcher, the experience was a success!
“[The ride] took me back to the fun times of no responsibilities and that sense of almost pure freedom. Riding on the water in a setting like that is by far one of the best forms of therapy for anyone! I am so fortunate that the Boot Campaign allowed me to be a part of such a wonderful event and see such great people doing great things for veterans and their families.”
The Boot Campaign is proud to partner with events like Never Quit Challenge to support the heroes that make a difference at home and abroad. Keep the GOOD going in 2014 by donating to the Boot Campaign today! To make your end of the year donation to Boot Campaign and help us to fulfill our mission click here!