The nonprofit organization Irreverent Warriors welcomes everyone who’s ever served in the military to join them on their signature ‘silkies hikes’ to help combat suicide.
Nationwide: Anyone who has ever served in the military knows the veteran suicide epidemic is real. The Irreverent Warriors nonprofit organization was created to solve the mental health crisis in the veteran community.
In fact most people in the law enforcement community understand this as many LEO’s deal with their own mental health issues from being on the job itself.
One of the reasons why we want to cover Irreverent Warriors is because we at LET know that a significant percentage of law enforcement officers have a military background. If that’s you, it would behoove you (a classic basic training phrase) to get involved with Irreverent Warriors.
More About Irreverent Warriors
There are hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the country to serve to military community, probably thousands. The fact that there are so many nonprofit organizations are a testament to exactly how bad the veteran suicide epidemic really is.
In fact, it is reported that 22 veterans commit suicide every day – not every month, not even every week. EVERY.DAY.
In fact many veteran professionals believe that number is even higher as a result in underreported suicides.
And with all the nonprofit organizations around, no two are the same. They each provide a specific purpose and for specific reasons. Some offer deep counseling therapies, hunting/ fishing trips, couples retreats (check out All Secure Foundation) , art related (check out claymore vets), equine therapy… the list goes on and on. Many of them want to settle the veterans down, help them relax.
But Irreverent Warriors is slightly different, slightly unique, and quite stimulating.
Simply put, they get large groups of servicemen and women together and go for a nice walk. An activity aptly named Silkies Hikes because they strongly encourage all hikers to wear silkies, aka ranger panties. And for anyone not familiar, think 80s Chuck Norris – small, tight shorts.
The Irreverent Warriors Goal
Their goal is simple and effective. Group a bunch of veterans together and socialize.
One of the troubling symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress is isolation. Anyone struggling with mental health issues often isolate themselves, they cut friends and family out of their routine and become absorbed in their own depression.
Irreverent Warriors is designed to get them out and around others who once wore, or still wear, the uniform because they understand the challenges of PTSD. For many veterans struggling with mental health issues, the hikes are a great way to get with other people who may be going through the same problem.
That connection with others is a critical step to avoiding thoughts of suicide. It gets them in a place of comfort, a place of familiarity and a safe place where they will always be welcome.
And bonus, it’s a place where dark humor is welcome – all LEO’s can relate to that!
No Judgment With Irreverent Warriors
Their signature event, the silkies hikes, are ones of no judgment. It doesn’t matter what your background is, where or when you served, or how long you served, you are welcome.
And everyone knows it.
As someone who’s been to several hikes I can say firsthand everyone is polite, supportive and quickly prove that they are your brothers and sisters in uniform.
Maria Mia Salazar, Marine and founder of a nonprofit organization focusing on art for veterans, Claymore Vets, went on her first silkies hike last summer in New York City. She spoke of her moving experience and told LET:
“IW [Irreverent Warriors] spoke to my soul because I made so many connections with other veterans. It reconnects you, it makes you remember that this is a community.”
Another Warrior and leader of the New York area IW chapter, Marc Herzog, recalls his most memorable hike in Norwalk, CT in 2019. He remembers the last mile and a half of the hike (a leg they termed the death march) like it was yesterday. Marc told LET:
“The last mile and a half was a straight up hill… and it was a challenge. My battle buddy their [in Norwalk]… I’m still close with today. Four years later that’s still a battle buddy because of that death march leg. We embraced the suck together, we fed off of each other together and we weren’t isolated when we embraced the suck.”
Check Out and Support Irreverent Warriors
If you’ve ever served in the military as many LEOs have, check out Irreverent Warriors.
It is not competitive, physically exhaustive or uncomfortable – it’s the exact opposite. Friendly, low impact and welcoming. (And if you’re sipping a bloody Mary from your water bottle during the hike, no one will tell.)
Whether you bring a friend or come alone, you’ll be hiking with family. It could save your life.
Check out their YouTube video below for more information and check out their website.
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