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Mapleton Mail

Warriors Hike To Prevent Veteran Suicides

The Irreverent Warriors, a group with an impactful mission. The Irreverent Warriors are an organization working to improve mental health and prevent suicide among Veterans. They strive to create a healthy culture among their members. They work to accomplish their goals through events, creative engagements, and strong Veteran-based support networks.

The Irreverent Warriors of Hopedale are a branch of the main organization to help Veterans in our community. They have the same goals and mission as the whole Irreverent Warriors organization. The Irreverent Warriors, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 2015. The Irreverent Warriors of Hopedale started in January of 2020 with the official transition from the Major Reid Nannen Memorial Ruck March. 

The main event that the Irreverent Warriors organizations hold are silkies hikes. On the national scale, there are over 70 silkies hikes per year. They will have their first international hike in London this September! The Hopedale Irreverent Warriors recently hosted a hike on the 4th of July. The silkies hike began at 8 a.m. and continued until 5 p.m.

The Hopedale Silkies Hike had 22 Veterans from the central Illinois area in attendance. However, a few Veterans traveled from as far as Ohio to participate in the hike! The events hosted by the Irreverent Warriors are for Veterans only. However, other people can find a way to be involved through volunteering. 

I was lucky to have the chance to have a conversation with Mason Willis, the lead coordinator for the Hopedale Irreverent Warriors. Willis has attended several hikes, including Indianapolis and Puerto Rico. He stated, “My intentions are to attend several more hikes this year. The Chicago Silkies Hike is on July 17.”

The Silkies Hikes bring support to all Veterans, but especially Veterans who have been struggling. Willis explained that the 2020 Hopedale Silkies Hike had to be cancelled due to COVID reasons, but they are working hard to plan more events for 2021. “Currently, the Hopedale Silkies Hikes is the only event scheduled for this year. Due to the amazing support and funding from our sponsors and also all of the donations we received from the community, we have enough funding to pursue other events,” states Willis. 

Hopedale Irreverent Warriors are sponsored by Signs of Success and AW Construction. AW Construction provides local concrete, excavating, demolition, and fencing work. Signs of Success creates all sorts of signs and custom screen printing and embroidery. Hopedale Irreverent Warriors look for local sponsors for support and give each business extra advertising in return.

The silkies hikes “go 22k with 22kg representing the 22 military suicides a day”, according to the Irreverent Warriors’ website. For more information about nationwide events or the organization as a whole, be sure to check out the Irreverent Warriors website The Hopedale Irreverent Warriors post information to their Facebook page, which is “Irreverent Warriors- Hopedale, IL”.

The Irreverent Warriors were created with a passion to prevent Veteran suicide, and they are working to accomplish that goal. They are doing their part to give back to the people who have given so much for our country. When asked about what the most rewarding part of being a part of the Irreverent Warriors is, Mason Willis stated, “The most rewarding aspect is knowing that we are no longer leaving our Veterans behind. We are preventing Veteran suicide.”

Chloe Scroggins
Correspondent, Columnist

Chloe Scroggins was a Mail Correspondent covering the Olympia communities starting in March of 2021, and was the Mail Agriculture Columnist from August 2021 until July 2022. She is from Danvers, Illinois.