Soldiers to Summits, Wells Fargo Announce Mission: Mt. Whitney Expedition Team of Wounded Veterans

World-renowned mountaineers join injured soldiers to overcome barriers

Apr 30, 2014, 09:35 ET from Soldiers to Summits

FORT COLLINS, Colo., April 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Soldiers to Summits, a program of No Barriers USA, and Mission: Mt. Whitney expedition sponsor Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) today announced its team of healing wounded veterans who will take on the highest summit in the contiguous United States this fall.  The team of soldiers will be trained by two of America's best-known mountaineers Charley Mace and Jeff Evans, who together will lead the team on the climb that launches September 1.  This is the fifth such expedition sponsored by Soldiers to Summits, which has been a part of such high profile expeditions as the South Pole Allied Challenge (SPAC) with Britain's Prince Harry, as well as climbs of Peru's Mariposa 1, Ecuador's Cotopaxi and Nepal's Lobuche.

Using mountains as both a metaphor and training ground, Soldiers to Summits helps veterans and service members overcome barriers, regardless of physical, mental or emotional challenges.  Soldiers to Summits teaches participants to embrace a "No Barriers Mindset" through its expeditions and climbs, as well as its experiential offerings.  Wells Fargo is joining forces with Soldiers to Summits as a part of its overall commitment to empower veterans to transition to a successful civilian life through its Military Affairs program.  The just named Mission: Mt. Whitney team consists of five female and 11 male veterans, as well as five expedition leaders.  Team members announced today come from four branches of the military and have various levels of post-injury ability from elite triathlete and future Para-Olympic hopeful to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivors. Others are recovering from crushing injuries, bi-lateral knee reconstruction and amputation.  The veterans hale from various locales in the country, have professional backgrounds as diverse as a massage therapist to an Ivy League research scientist; and are ages 27 - 57.  They include:

  • Vivian SnyderOakland, CA, Army – TBI, HNP with fusion in back and bilateral knee reconstruction
  • Adele LoarNarragansett, RI, Air Force – Loss of right eye and partial right shoulder, TBI, PTSD
  • Xiaolian TanRoslindale, MA, Army – PTSD
  • Brian McPhersonAthens, OH, Marine Corp – TBI, PTSD, bilateral shoulder injury and hearing loss
  • Keith KnoopLincoln, NE, Army – Right leg injury, TBI
  • Jeremy GrahamFairfield, WA, Marine Corps – PTSD, TBI
  • Harold "Jody" Brower – Clayton, NC, Marine Corps – Herniated disc, hearing loss, shattered ankle, memory/headache issues
  • Jeff PalenskeChicago, IL, Army – TBI, PTSD
  • Andres LazoSyracuse, NY, Army – TBI, PTSD
  • Stevi GelinasMadison, NH, Army National Guard – PTSD, degenerative disc disease
  • Stuart "Bosun" Cooley – Houston, TX, Navy – Some loss of use of left hand and shoulder
  • Craig VogtsbergerLittleton, CO, Army National Guard – PTSD, TBI, SCI, DYS, LBP, PAR
  • Steve Troop – Pine Meadow, CT, Army – Spinal stenosis, PTSD
  • David InbodyCollege Station, TX, Army –  Foot amputation, Disc disease, PTSD
  • Bob "Diggs" Brown – Fort Collins, CO, Army – PTSD
  • Joan HillNorfolk, VA, Navy, PTSD

The team's expedition guides will be Nick Colgin, a veteran who has met the challenges of his wartime injuries to become a professional outdoor guide and be a part of previous Soldiers to Summits expeditions; Margaux Mange, a veteran who has overcome injuries from her time in the military to participate in two previous Soldiers to Summits expeditions including the recent SPAC with Prince Harry; and Josh Jespersen, a six-year Navy veteran who deployed to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2010 with SEAL Team IV, now a Colorado resident pursuing a college degree.  Well-known Adventure Videographer Didrik Johnck will also be a part of Mission: Mt. Whitney to capture the climb and experience of participants.

Soldiers to Summits will hold two training sessions for the Mission: Mt. Whitney team in the Colorado Rockies May 18 – 21st and August 1 – 6.  Along with the training, each team member is committed to a service project in their local communities prior to the September expedition launch. To learn more visit  

About Soldiers to Summits
Soldiers to Summits is a program of No Barriers USA, whose mission is to unleash the potential of the human spirit. Soldiers to Summits accomplishes this by building transformative experiences designed to help veterans overcome barriers and live a life of purpose. Their journey-based expeditions range from one day to three weeks in length, and have taken the organization to Nepal, Ecuador, Peru, the South Pole and locations around the U.S.

Climb Higher. Go Further. Dig Deeper.

About Wells Fargo's Military Affairs Program
In 2012, Wells Fargo created a Military Affairs program to elevate its efforts in serving active duty military and veterans, and named a Military Affairs Program manager.

Wells Fargo also announced that it is committing $35 million over the next three years as part of its ongoing commitment to supporting military service members, veterans and their families.  The commitment includes real estate owned (REO) property donations and support valued at $30 million to qualifying nonprofits that serve military service members and veterans, hiring and mentoring initiatives, customized financial education efforts, and funds for philanthropic donations and sponsorships.

In 2013, one year after announcing the $35 million commitment, Wells Fargo is proud to announce it has donated more than 86 real estate owned (REO) properties to wounded warriors, participated in more than 150 military job fairs, hired more than 1,500 veterans and launched its Hand on Banking® for Military financial education program.

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SOURCE Soldiers to Summits