CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo -- Each month, as part of our “Serving Those Who Serve” commitment, we feature a "Hero of the Month." This month, we went to great lengths to feature our June hero.
Tonight, we introduce you to a now world record holder who raised awareness for his cause in the most nontraditional of ways.
They say it's not about the destination but the journey. For reinforcement, we start this story at the end. This is the view at the top of Mount Evans. Part of what makes it so beautiful is knowing that when you get here, you've conquered a mountain.
Former Navy Seal Josh Jespersen had some company while climbing. He and his best friend, Schuyler, fight the wind and steepest of terrain.
This is Jespersen's 55th summit. He completed all of Colorado's 14ers in a time period more often than some people shower.
“There were some weeks where it was like every day or every other day,” Jespersen said. “I use ice axes on some of the mountains.”
After Jespersen hikes up, he skies down.
“The ride down is the best part,” Jespersen said.
The two skipping around boulders like kids playing hop-scotch. Only falls made on purpose help mitigate the risk of avalanche.
Jesperson shattered the previous world record for summiting and skiing all of Colorado's 14ers by six months.
There's only one way to tell Josh’s story, we had to get to his level, with the help of the Pinpoint Weather Beast, we drove to the near top of Mount Evans and climbed the rest of the way to the highest standing rock.
Jespersen says you don`t truly summit until you sit at the highest rock.
If Jespersen wasn’t feeling on top of the world at that moment, then the next moment was sure to take him to new heights.
There on the top of the mountain, we presented him with the “FOX31 Problem Solvers June Hero of the Month.
“Wow!” Jespersen said.
Jespersen was nominated by his best friend, adventure companion and fellow Army veteran Schuyler Nippert.
“You know, Josh has saved my life, figuratively in the sense to motivate me to get off the couch and start conquering all those things that I think held a lot of veterans back,” Nippert said.
Schuyler says Jespersen teaches an important message to veterans who feel depressed, forgotten, or less important without their military rank
“The fear of injury or death shouldn't be what stops you...it should be what motivates you to go a little bit further,” Nippert said.
Josh embraces his warrior spirit in the name of a worthwhile cause.
“Wanted to do this project so I could raise more awareness for my non-profit Mission Memorial Day, who is trying to take back the true meaning of Memorial Day from mattress sales and silly stuff like that,” Jespersen said.
Along his journey up 14er, after 14er, his intimate encounter with these peaks makes his commitment to our country even stronger.
“You know this is the land that you fight for. So, being a veteran, it`s super special because you have a sense that you protected this area,” Jespersen said.
We also gave Josh a $250 Visa gift card from our sponsor DCP Midstream.
Without even thinking about it, he decided he was going to give the gift card to a nonprofit for veterans suffering from brain injuries.
For more information on Mission Memorial Day, click here.