Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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Climbing Kilimanjaro: Former Tennessee Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher

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Former Tennessee Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher and I have a few things in common.  We both look GREAT in blue, are fans of Team Strategies’ events and have both climbed 19,340 foot Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Fisher shared his recent experience with me at the “Jeff Fisher & Friends Charity VIP Reception” on June 16th in Nashville, TN.

As part of ‘Team Hard Target,’  the former Titans Head Coach, former Philadelphia Eagles tight end Chad Lewis, former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi and four wounded warriors,  Nancy Schiliro, Michael Wilson, Bryan Wagner and Ben Lunak, went on an epic adventure to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. Fisher says, “the feeling of reaching the summit is indescribable.”

Having summated Kilimanjaro in 2008, with 11 year NFL veteran and former Washington Redskins’
Hog, Ken Huff, I could relate.  On average, 25,000 people attempt to climb the world’s highest free standing mountain each year.  Only 40% actually make the summit and 10-12 people die trying.

It is hard enough for an able bodied individual to summit 19,340 feet, battling against HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) and HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema).  Throw in a prosthetic leg or two, a missing eye and a traumatic brain injury and it is darn near unthinkable!

Before leaving for Africa, Team Hard Target trained in Colorado and scaled one of the state’s 54, ‘fourteeners.’  Still 5,000 feet shy of what they would be up against in Africa, it was the best they could do to prepare. In the continental United States, there are no peaks over 14,500 feet.

Team Hard Target started the climb at the Machame Gate with 11 members.  Five, long and grueling, days later, eight would reach the summit.  Altitude sickness and injury would overcome a few.  Fisher says, “I am so proud and impressed with these soldiers. Whether they made it to the summit or not, what they went through to climb as high as they did is incredible.”

The Former Titans Coach continues to support the Wounded Warrior Project this Saturday, June 18 with the “Jeff Fisher & Friends Charity Softball Game” at Greer Stadium in Nashville, TN.  In its 11 years, the event has raised over half-million dollars for charities, including the WWP.

This event will be the “Final Farewell” as Jeff Fisher and the Titans organization parted ways earlier this year. When I asked what he plans to do with all this time on his hands, he laughed and said, “I’m going to take the next year off, head to Montana and do some fly fishing and backpacking!”

<a href="http://www description.turnthepayge.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/CourtseyofBelieveinHeroes.bmp”>

 For more information on their climb and the Wounded Warrior Project:

http://believeinheroes.org  & http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

TN Patriots & Supporters Shied Fallen Marine Sergeant Kevin B. Balduf Family from Westboro Baptist Protesters

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On June 13, 2011, Marine Sergeant Kevin B. Baldruf funeral was held at Woodmont Hills Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Kevin died on May 12, 2011 at the age of 27 while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan. He leaves behind a wife, Amy, and two daughters, ages 3 and 5. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Marine Sgt Kevin Balduf

His funeral gained nationwide media attention when the deranged Westboro Baptist Church announced plans to disrupt the funeral with one of their anti-gay protest. Big mistake!

Within days of a very well organized social media campaign led by musician Kevin Montgomery, thousands of strangers, all patriots and supporters, came out to shield Kevin’s family and friends from these protesters.

Nashville MMA Bus, Regina, with son, Tim Clay and Payge McMahon

In conjunction with the Clay family and owners of Nashville MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), we came out to support the supporters and document their efforts. Nashville MMA handed out ice water and donated their air conditioned tour bus giving  supporters a cool place to rest from the 90F heat.  The MMA training facilities manager, Tim Clay, coordinated the efforts with the blessing of his brother, and primary owner of Nashville MMA, Ed Clay.  A close family, their parents came on board immediately.  Regina and Tim Clay Sr., actually met while both serving in the Army, she as a nurse and he as an ambulance driver. They married 7 weeks after meeting and will celebrate their 39th anniversary this year.

Army Vietnam Vet & Biker Sid “Skip” Spencer

We met some amazing people and a LOT of bikers.  According to Army Vietnam Vet and biker, Sid “Skip” Spencer, a 1,000 motorcyclist  from different groups and chapters were in attendance including; The Outlaws, Bikers for Christ, New Attitudes, Keltics, Rough Riders, US Military MC, Leathernecks, Vietnam Vets, Blue Knights and Tribe of Judah.

When asked if anyone had anything to say to Kevin’s family, Rough Neck biker Terry Corn summed up the common theme:“We appreciate your son’s ultimate sacrifice and so deeply sorry for your loss.  It is an honor to be here and we support you.”

For Biker Gloria Reece, who is also battling MS, this was the 2nd day braving the heat in her ongoing support of Kevin’s family.  She along with 150 other motorcyclist went to Smyrna Airfield on Saturday and escorted the casket to the Nashville funeral home.

Army Vet and widow Susan Hoyle came out to volunteer for the Patriot Guard Riders.  Her husband, Sgt 1st Class Malone Hoyle Jr. , died in Afghanistan less than a year ago, one day from what would have been his 27 year service anniversary and only 5 days from retirement.  Wearing his dog tags, she tears up talking about him and the combined five children they have together.   She also wears on her wrist two important items.  One, an Iraqi friendship beaded bracelet,  given to her husband from a local Iraqi on one of his tours and a silver commemorative bracelet engraved with her husband’s name, Malone Hoyle Jr., and dates of importance.  Overall, Susan felt she needed to be here, that he would want her here, to support her fellow widows, widowers, service men and women.

In the end, only three Westboro Baptist protesters arrived.  Due to permits and ordinances, they had to remain 500 feet away from the church property.  They weren’t there long though.  They fled in a cab before the funeral even started. They would have driven away in their own cars, but mysteriously, their car tires had gone flat;-)

Additional pictures:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.229881737023352.71461.151565961521597&l=1d6c6a2728Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

McMahon teams up with Discovery Channel’s ‘Dual Survival’ star Dave Canterbury

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I had a blast as guest speaker and instructor at Dave Canterbury’s Pathfinder’s School Spring Gathering!  Dave Canterbury is one of the stars of Discovery Channel’s hit show ‘Dual Survival,’ owner of Pathfinders, a renowned wilderness survival school in OH and co-owner of popular magazine, Self Reliance Illustrated.

Over five days of this family friendly event, hundreds of students and children camped out in Rocky Fork State Park in Hillsboro, OH.  People came from all over the country and even some from Canada and England!

Classes were held under the pavilion and included instruction on everything from; navigation, wild edibles and medicinal plants, signaling, ropes, tracking, shelter and backpacking.  Some took in the extra opportunities to get their Wilderness First Aid certification and made their own long bow and arrows.

Venders such as Habilis Bush Tools, Survival Resources and Blind Horse Knives set up tents and were a huge hit with those looking to get the latest and greatest knives, survival gear, books and tools.

Each night after a group supper, campfire stories and songs were shared.  The community spirit among those attending was amazing.  I made a lot of new friends and look forward to seeing everyone at the next one!

Trans-Zion Trekking in Utah

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On a recent trip to Zion National Park, I had the pleasure to climb the infamous Angels Landing and backpack the longest section of the Trans-Zion Trekking Route, The West Rim Trail.  The WRT makes up 15 miles of the 47 mile route from the Lee Pass Trailhead in Kolob Canyons to the Park’s southeast entrance at the East Rim Trailhead. Most people start out in Kolob Canyon, a mostly downhill distance hike.  Due to permit availability and a misadventure with a hiker, I did the West Rim Trail both ways, trekking over 30 miles and ascending and descending 6,200 feet in a span of 24 hours.  I learned several valuable lessons on this trip including the importance of reviewing basic hiking protocols with travel mates and how differently people can react in a potentially dangerous situation. 

Look for my unexpected Zion wilderness survival story in an exclusive upcoming article with Self Reliance Illustrated.

NASA Shuttle Endeavour’s Final Launch

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I had the opportunity to attend Mission Specialist and Astronaut, Andrew Feustel’s, family and friend’s reception at Kennedy Space Center of what was supposed to be the eve before the final Endeavour Space Shuttle launch. While Drew was in quarantine with the rest of the shuttle crew, several astronaut colleagues were in attendance including Shane Kimbrough, Charles Hobaugh and Megan McArthur.

I learned a lot about what the astronauts go through including their extensive land and sea survival training, food preferences, psychological and physical analysis. Did you know they pick their own food to eat each meal? They also don’t need to eat the dehydrated food for physical digestive reasons, it is preferred because of its light packing weight. They also need salt and electrolytes in their system like any athlete. They have a space version of Gatorade, called Astroaide!

Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver the Express Logistics Carrier-3 (ELC-3) and the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the International Space Station.


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