A fundraiser to benefit an organization dedicated to bringing awareness and raising funds for wounded veterans - and provide opportunities for them to participate in extreme sports - takes place tomorrow in Lower Salford and Harleysville.
The "Wings for Warriors" fundraiser for nonprofit Team X-T.R.E.M.E. takes place at Harleysville Hotel, 496 Main Street (Sumneytown Pike) from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. It all begins with a rally at 2:15 p.m. at the Walmart in Lower Salford, 651 Main St., according to the blog A Hero's Welcome.
Team X-T.R.E.M.E. stands for Train, Rehabilitate, Empower, Motivate, Endure. According to an article in The Reporter Online, the nonprofit was founded by Jeremy Soles, a Marine veteran who took to working out to get over the loss of his mother to cancer.
It operates as a nonprofit partner of Semper Fidelis Health and Wellness of Maryland.
Veteran Noah Galloway, a Warrior athlete, will be a guest at the event. Galloway is a double amputee. He was wounded in combat with the 101st Airborne Division by an IED blast in Iraq in 2005.
According to the blog, Galloway has been focusing his energy in motivating other wounded veterans by doing extreme endurance events.
Galloway took part in the nonprofit's 23rd-annual Bataan Memorial Death March in White Sands, NM. This is a 26.2-mile memoria march through desert terrain, mountains and washes at elevations as high as 5,300 feet.
Each member of the team does one unique thing whenever they are walking, running, biking or embarking on an endurance fundraiser for the cause - they wear a gas mask.
According to its Facebook page, the gas mask symbolizes the group's initiative. Running in the mask is equivalent to 20 to 25 percent oxygen resistance.
As stated on the Facebook page:
Often people ask how difficult it is to run long distance in a gas mask. Our reply: “not nearly as difficult as living with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), learning to walk again with prosthetics or living the rest of your life burned over 30% of your body.” We parallel the perception of temporary discomfort and difficulty associated with running in the mask to the challenges our wounded veterans will endure for the rest of their lives.
Team member and Lower Salford Township Police Officer Dan Covolesky is a member of the team and a Marine veteran. In the Reporter article, Covolesky is credited with saying the team's mission is "to provide wounded veterans the opportunity to participate in extreme sports, such as skydiving and scuba diving, they otherwise might consider unattainable."
"We provide support by offering opportunities. It’s a chance for wounded warriors to be part of something elite again," said Soles in the Reporter article.
Soles made the Guiness Book of World Records for the fastest person ever to complete a full 26.2-mile marathon in a gas mask.
According to its Facebook page, Team X-T.R.E.M.E. dedicated the record to combat-wounded Marine Cpl. John Peck, who was at the finish line to receive the honor.
According to the website, X-T.R.E.M.E. DREAMS is the latest initiative to empower and motivate wounded veterans by facilitating adventures such as skydiving, surfing and skiing.