Minot Air Force Base, Minot ND- In 1976, mountaineer Tom Whittaker, came to America to climb our toughest cliff faces, kayak our most extreme rivers and ascend the countries tallest mountain... little did the son of a third generation British Army Officer know that his life would change forever...
Three years later, he found himself in a hospital bed in the small town of Pocatello, Idaho the victim of another drivers drunken mistake... surrounded by friends whom he’d met along the many outdoor adventures he’d embarked upon..
Today, thirty plus years after that horrible head on car crash that nearly took his life, the world’s first handicapped climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest, Tom Whittaker found himself standing before hundreds of Air Force members talking about his journey.
A journey that included hundreds of individuals whom upon hearing news of the horrific accident rushed to his bed side. “... I woke up one day after the crash to find a beast of a man standing beside my hospital bed... crying like a baby, it took me a moment to realize that it as my climbing buddy, retired active duty US Marine who'd hitchhiked across the country from Maine to help Whittaker through the rehabilitation process....help nurse him back to truly living. “ I knew from the moment he arrived that I was going to have to endure the wrath of this 200+ pound Marine hammering on me to never quit ... and that is exactly what the Marine and others did!
‘Never Quit’ is the name that Air Force’s Global Strike Command has given this resiliency based initiative, which features different guest speakers traveling to one or all of the command’s 5 US Bases each month. Like the moment in 1998 when Whittaker became the first amputee to step foot on top of Mount Everest, Global Strike Command is the first Air Force Command to implement the use of ‘living, breathing, walking billboards of resiliency in the form of special guests coming and sharing their unique life stories with airmen, on a monthly basis. “ ... troop strength, health and overall resiliency is something that our nonprofit has been committed helping support at overseas deployed bases for years.” said Rob Powers, the host of the series and founder of the nonprofit organization American300 Warrior Tours, “.. what makes supporting Global Strike Command so unique is that it’s the first time we’ve provided programming here at home... and on a regular monthly basis.”
Amazing American’s honoring America’s Heroes... a simple concept and fantastic way of saying ‘Thank You’ for being Great!
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To learn more about Tom Whittaker: www.tomwhittaker.com
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