Wilderness Walk is this Friday

10 years ago

He has never worn a soldier’s uniform. He has never fought in any war. His boots have never trod through desert sand, jungles deep or stood on foreign shores to answer his country’s call. But, this week, Chris Robinson of Houlton and his six-member team will become partners with those who served.

Robinson has spearheaded the Wilderness Walk for Warriors. The seven-man team — Robinson, along with his brother Tim Robinson, Scott Farley, Tom Steeves, Gary Shea, Joe Treadwell and Josh Blaine — is  hiking 114 miles over one week to raise money for Maine veterans.
The Wilderness Walk for Warriors begins at Monson and will travel to Abol Bridge and cease at the top of Mt. Katahdin.
“Every hill we climb, every mile we hike, we will be doing it per pledge or for a flat rate from businesses or individuals giving,” said Robinson, who has collected $2,000 thus far and is hoping for more support.
About a year ago, Robinson climbed Mt. Katahdin to Chimney Pond. As he breathed in the beauty and drank in the solitude, Robinson was struck with an epiphany — his health is a gift and how can fitness and exercise be used to strengthen someone else — thus the idea for a Wilderness Walk was born.
Robinson thought about the country’s guardians of liberty, as he stood enveloped in nature’s freedom.
“I make it very clear, I have no affiliation with the military,” said Robinson. “I do have close ties. I support my country and my nation. I wanted to give back combining it with [my love] for physical fitness.”
Robinson’s younger brother, Tim, is a full-time member of the Army National Guard and served with the U.S. Navy on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln during Gulf War I, as well as in Bosnia.
“Originally, it started as a way to give something back,” said Robinson. “It has grown from there.”
The Wilderness Walk for Warriors’ fundraiser will put 100 percent of the funds to use for Maine veterans/active service members or their families at an individual or family level.
“No funds will go to a general organization,” Robinson explained. “All donations will be redistributed at a 100 percent level. Any costs incurred by this group will be paid by the seven team members.”
Starting Friday, Robinson and his team will travel to the trailhead in Monson for an opening ceremony at 8:45 a.m. After the invocation, Pastor Nick Nickerson will give a brief message.
During the walk, Robinson’s team will also have the privilege of carrying individually engraved memorial stones of fallen Maine soldiers, as they hike, just as many did with the Summit Project over Memorial Day weekend.
After Nickerson’s remarks, an explanation of the memorial stones will be given, along with the transfer and reading of the stones.
The Maine Patriot Guard Riders will assist in the escort and delivery of memorial stones for eight of Maine’s fallen warriors from Bangor to Monson.
Those to be honored and remembered are: Captain Christopher Cash, First Lt. James R. Zimmerman, Cpl. Andrew L. Hutchins, Sgt. Joshua J. Kirk, Pfc. Tyler M. Springmann, Pfc. Andrew Small, Sgt. 1st Class Aaron A. Henderson and MSGT Ryan Love.
After the benediction, goodbyes will be made and the journey begins “For Them: Assisting the Living, Honoring the Deceased.”
Team members will hike straight through to Mt. Katahdin, carrying just what they need for provisions — water and food — along with memorial stones weighing eight to 16 pounds in their backpacks.
To end the Wilderness Walk, the American flag and state flag will hang from a National Guard helicopter at Mt. Katahdin’s summit during the memorial service.
According to Robinson, this journey is a great honor for each member of the team.
“We, as a collective group, will be doing a documentary of our journey, along with pictures and stories,” he said.
The Wilderness Walk for Warriors is dedicated to supporting veterans, service members and their families, as well as honoring Maine’s fallen heroes.
“Wilderness Walk for Warriors’ mission is to not only honor and remember Maine’s fallen service members, but to help and assist active service members and veterans who are in need,” added Robinson. “Our goal as a group is to collect $20,000.”
For those wishing to donate may do so by sending a message to the Wilderness Walk for Warriors Facebook page.