After hearing of a veteran therapy group’s need for a motorhome to support their outdoor journeys, Cedar Park businesses came together and donated a new Winnebago Travato to the cause.
The group-Warrior Expeditions-supports combat veterans transitioning from their service by providing long-distance outdoor experiences. It’s a nonprofit outdoor therapy program inspired by a Marine Corps veteran’s own experience.
“It was always a dream of mine to hike the Appalachian Trail,” Sean Gobin, Founder of Warrior Expeditions said.
So he did. He returned more than four months, and 2,185 miles later with the passion to launch a program.
“It was one of the most profound moments of my life,” Gobin said.
Gobin took his experience and knowledge to form a program that would provide veterans with the equipment and supplies they needed to complete long-distance journeys along six National Scenic Trails and the Mississippi River. These journeys give veterans the opportunity to transition from their wartime experiences in the solitude of nature and with the camaraderie of other veterans who understand what they are going through.
“It’s a great way for veterans to transition from being overseas,” he said. “It gives them time and space to clear their heads and process things. It helps restore the basic faith in humanity that might have been lost while fighting in wars.”
The program faced some difficulties with efficient and effective travel. Previously they were using a donated military truck that was converted into an RV. It was difficult to use for long travels and it was extremely loud. Cedar Park businesses Arrow Land Group, Heroes Crossfit and Idle Vine Brewery stepped in to donate the vehicle when they heard of the situation.
“The goodness this Winnebago will bring to the organization is beyond comprehension,” Gobin said. “This will allows us to put more veterans in the organization and help more vets with the transition.”
Hikes aren’t all the program does. Warrior Paddle was created this year, where veterans paddle the entire length of the Mississippi River.
“Some soldiers lose limbs in combat, and this allows them to participate in another way,” Gobin explained.
Warrior Expeditions is completely run by volunteers and operates with less than 1 percent in overhead expenses. Because of this, the majority of donations go directly toward supporting combat veterans on their expeditions.
“Because of the support young veterans have the time and space to reflect and decompress so they can start the next chapter of their lives,” Gobin said.