Upon hearing of Mission Kilimanjaro and learning about Kyle Maynard, many have asked why he and Mission Kilimanjaro have such a focus on veterans. Here, in Kyle’s own words, is the reason he has such a passion for working with the men and women who have served their country:
When my book was released in October of 2005, my life changed dramatically. I went from being a 19-year-old full-time student at the University of Georgia to a 19-year-old full-time business traveler overnight. I found myself in the routine of jumping from city to city, sometimes more than once in the same day. For the first three months of 2006, I came home to Atlanta once, and that was to do some laundry so I could head back out! I was grateful for every opportunity I had been given, but was not mentally prepared for how much my life was changing.
Most of the time I traveled alone, and the empty hotel rooms got lonely real quick. If you've ever met anyone claiming they've never felt sorry for themselves at one point or another, odds are they are lying or not human – and I am no different! It's not the easiest job in the world to leave a positive impact on people when you are struggling to find motivation yourself. And I'm not immune from making excuses either - my parents just taught me early on that excuses would never help serve me in any way. Even though I fully believe that, I still thought about quitting and going back to my old life as a full-time student. I missed home. I my friends. I missed the relatively stress-free life I had left behind.
Then out of nowhere, in the middle of the airport, on a day I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, I met two men who changed everything. I believe God puts people in our lives at the precise moment we need them. And even though I had no idea who they were, I was on the ropes without them.
I saw the two men, who were sitting in the same terminal, looking at me and commenting back and forth to one another. I decided to head over towards them, and almost immediately I noticed something different about the men - both of them were noticeably burned.
After I introduced myself, they told me their story. They had been Military Police in the Army and were in a convoy in Iraq when their Humvee was hit with rocket propelled grenades and set on fire. The corporal driving the truck had his hands and forearms severely burned.
The lieutenant next to him jumped on his friend to try and extinguish the flames, and in doing so, badly burned the side of his body. The soldiers were evacuated, and in less than 48 hours after the incident, they found themselves in adjacent hospital beds at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX.