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Mt. Kilimanjaro 3rd of 7 Summits for Active Military Staff Sergeant

Anchorage, Alaska  -  Bradford, Pennsylvania native Staff Sergeant Trevor Jones, a member of the United States Army stationed at Ft. Richardson just north of Anchorage,Alaska, is taking on his 3rd of the seven summits of the world.  Staff Sergeant Jones is attempting to be the only active-duty service member to summit the tallest peaks on all 7 continents.  With North America’s Mt McKinley, and South America’s Aconcagua successfully complete, he turns his sites to the other side of the world, wherein lies his third quest; Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro.  And, as an active-duty soldier, he’s doing it to raise money and awareness for those he has, is, and will serve with in the United States Military; the Wounded Warrior Project.      

Unlike his recent solo summit of Aconcagua, Staff Sergeant Jones will be attempting Kilimanjaro alongside one of his best friends, former flight medic, Sergeant Jacob Birkholz.  The two met while stationed at Ft. Drum in New York, and later deployed to Afghanistan together.  While deployed, Sergeant Birkholz was severely wounded while serving in Bagram, Afghanistan, occurring just a fewweeks prior to Staff Sergeant Jones’ successful Aconcagua summit.  Incidents such as this, along with what comes next for soldiers like Sergeant Birkholz and their families and loved ones, is the driving motivation for Staff Sergeant Jones to not only climb on behalf of his fellow soldiers, but to also work with the Wounded Warrior Project during his Seven Summits attempt.  The bilateral high frequency neurological hearing loss that resulted from Sergeant Birkholz’s injuries is a major challenge he will need to overcome during his Kilimanjaro ascent.   

At a daunting 19,341 feet, Kilimanjaro is located in the extreme northeast section of the United Republic of Tanzania, boarding Kenya.  The summit is comprised of three dormant volcanic cones; Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira, and is centered within the Kilimanjaro National Park of Tanzania.  There are six official trekking routes by which to climb Kilimanjaro, namely; Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe, and Machame.  Staff Sergeant Jones and Sergeant Birkholz have yet to decide which route they will take, but have narrowed it to either Rongai or Umbwe, depending on conditions upon their arrival.        

Staff Sergeant Jones will depart Anchorage on New Year’s Day (Sergeant Birkholz departing from his home in Lovell, Wyoming), en route to Tanzania.  The two will begin their climbs a mere three days later, with first steps slated for January 3rd.  Their targeted summit date is January 6th, weather permitting, and barring any unforeseen circumstances.  Once on the summit, they have given themselves two days to descend back to the safety of the populated lower elevations.     

The Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, with additional program offices in New York City and Washington, D.C.  WWP was founded in Roanoke, Virginia by a group of veterans and friends who took action to help the injured service men and women of this generation.  Moved by the difficult stories of the first wounded service members returning from both Afghanistan and Iraq, they realized that something needed to be done to help these brave individuals beyond brass bands and ticker tape parades.  The resulting objective was to provide tangible support for the wounded and their families on the road to healing.  The resulting objective has birthed into what is now the Wounded Warrior Project.          

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