Our Veterans Day Giveaway, Votes for Vets, is over! If you’ve been following along, you’ve probably already met our finalists — and voted for them! In that case, scroll to find out who won!
And if you haven’t, allow us to introduce our finalists.
Sergeant major Kelli Harr from Lakeville, Minnesota lives by the John Muir quote, “Come to the woods, for here is rest.” She believes that time in the outdoors is a valuable way to get away and reset.
I love hiking! It’s what kept me sane the last few years. Morning walks in the woods with my dog made each day better.Kelli Harr
Nina is a Marine Corps Veteran from Charleston, South Carolina. As the founder of Rustic Ranch Equine Assisted Therapy, she not only focuses on her own mental health but also assists other Veterans with their own.
The outdoors means everything to the mental health of Veterans; myself included. I have recently begun full-time RV living as part of my own therapy, at an effort to practice mindfullness as close to nature as possible.Nina Guerra
Nominated by his wife, Sharon, Joe Sweat has served active duty as a Marine and as a guardsman since separation from AD in 2013. This past year, the couple purchased a class C RV and made big plans to use it and rent it out. Unfortunately, a few weeks later after purchase, Joe almost lost his life in an automobile accident. Since then, the two have spent 6 months helping him recover from a severe traumatic brain injury.
My goal is to get us back together as a family and go on the great adventures I envisioned before his accident. Nothing better than thev great outdoors to reconnect with those that matter most to us in this world.Sharon Sweat
Brendan, a Marine Corps Veteran from St. Louis, Missouri, has always had a passion for the outdoors. It’s actually what led him to join the military as a way to challenge himself physically and mentally while working with great teammates. After 6 years of service, Brendan left to help develop a non-profit to reduce food insecurity in the Midwest.
Transitioning from military to civilian life has been challenging but being able to relax by hiking or surfing is always the best medicine. I hope I can inspire others to seek nature as a way to calm their minds and enjoy the moment.Brendan Barry
Retired Army Veteran, Yolanda Edwards has served multiple places including Iraq, Kuwait, and Okinawa. To say Yolanda, aka Mz. Hooked, is an outdoor-enthusiast would be an understatement.
The outdoors is never redundant. There’s constant change. Every day is different. The water ripples differently. Different butterflies fly. If you ever take the plunge to really look at the outdoors, you will see the splendor in it.Yolanda Edwards
Joe from Las Vegas, Nevada is a member of the Air Force and has been serving for 19 years. He was nominated by his wife, Lynn, who is his perfect match, as they’re both outdoor-loving “adventure junkies.”
I think a big part of why we are so drawn to [the outdoor life] is that in the midst of all the chaos and challenges of military life, being outdoors allows us to pause, take a breath, and take in the peace that comes from being away from the noise, and out in the wild where the only sounds you hear are natural. Its invigorating and fills you up. It reminds us how much we have to be thankful for, and brings us back to that grounded place of knowing why we do military life, that all these freedoms we enjoy really are so rare and worth fighting for.Lynn Foreman
In basic training, the outdoors is where Matthew Perry first experienced calm in the chaos. In the outdoors, he found the greatest peace of mind and the best coping ability for hardship and service and life stressors. Developing a love for it that he carries with him today, he hopes to share that with others.
Being able to sleep under the stars, I learned a lot about myself. [The outdoors] is where I often go now to reset myself and have that mental clarity.Matthew Perry
Heather Lewis nominated her husband, Robert, who served in the Army National Guard. He proudly served his county and now serves his community as a police officer.
Outdoor activities provide us an escape from life’s stresses. My husband was deployed when our first son was born and now we have 3 boys. They are growing faster than ever and we have made it a priority to get them outside and see all this world has to offer. Our camping trips have given us memories that we will cherish for years to come.Heather Lewis
And the winner is…
Well, there are three. Our runner-ups are Nina and Joe. And our grand prize winner is — drumroll, please — Kelli!
Congratulations! And thank you to all that entered for their participation, and more importantly, their service.