By Smokymountain News | smokymountainnews.com | September 28, 2011
Fortunate Sons, a group of 18 active duty Marines, is planning to collectively hike the entire 1,000-mile North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail in the name of both charity and awareness.
Their 42-day journey begins on Oct. 2 at Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains and ends at Jockey’s Ridge on the outer banks on Veteran’s Day weekend, Nov. 13. All funds raised in support of the event will go directly to the Semper Fi Fund.
The Semper Fi Fund is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to wounded and injured Marines, as well as personnel who might have been wounded or injured while supporting Marines.
“The mission and goals of the Semper Fi Fund are similar to ours,” said Mark Greenlief, a Fortunate Sons member. “Our goals are to show honor and continued support for Marines who were hurt in the defense of our country, who are the reminder of the cost of freedom.”
Jeremiah Johnson recalls how the idea got started.
“I work with a great group of guys and we are always trying to find adventures and something exciting to do in our spare time. We came up with the idea to hike the MST and the wheels started turning from there.”
Although the Semper Fi Fund is the main focus of the efforts being made, Fortunate Sons also plans to raise awareness for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
“North Carolina is a beautiful state and what better way to experience its beauty than by hiking its premier trail and meeting people along the way,” explains Johnson. “In my opinion, North Carolina is the most military-friendly state in the Union, and we hope to show our gratitude for the appreciation displayed by both the state’s citizens and its government through raising awareness of the Mountains –to-Sea Trail and the communities that support it.”
The 18 Marines participating on the trail have divided themselves into six two-man teams, with six Marines in reserve. The first team will start at Clingman’s Dome and hike for seven days and then be relieved by the oncoming team.
“Each team will be expected to hike an average of 150 miles a week or roughly 22 miles a day; not exactly an easy task,” says Johnson.
Donations to the cause can be made through the Semper Fi fund at https://semperfifund.org/donate/. Please select “Fortunate Sons” as the event name under Additional Information in the payment form.
For more information about Fortunate Sons, visit www.fortunatesons.org.