Disabled veteran Kirk Bauer, climbs Argentina’s Aconcagua

Disabled Sports USA’s motto “If I can do this, I can do anything” was never more true than it was this past January, when a team of severely wounded veterans representing the organization’s Warfighter Sports program took on a climb to a summit of Argentina’s Aconcagua, the world’s highest mountain outside of Asia.

AIG, along with valued broker Willis, sponsored the climb. AIG has long supported DSUSA and its renowned Warfighter Sports program, which has provided 8,200 wounded warriors and their families with the opportunity to participate in more than 30 sports since 2003, free of any costs.

The expedition team consisted of wounded veterans from two generations and three wars: retired Marine Lance Corporal Colton Carlson, Marine Captain David Borden, retired Marine Gunny Sergeant Chris Buckminster, and retired Army Sergeant and DSUSA Executive Director Kirk Bauer. Alexander (Alf) Garner from Willis, a doctor from Walter Reed Medical Center, and a guide joined the team on this adventure.

The trek started on January 16, 2015, and was recorded through photos and a blog. On January 28, three of the men on the expedition team reached the summit, accomplishing what few others have. One of them was L.Cpl. Colton Carlson, the youngest member of the group and a double leg amputee. The purpose for the climb was to inspire and motivate fellow wounded warriors and others who are facing the challenge of rehabilitation after severe injury to realize that they can lead active, fulfilling lives despite their disabilities.

After the climb, the team returned to Mendoza, Argentina, where they celebrated their accomplishment with Maximiliano Leggio, AIG’s local Branch Manager, who gave them traditional alfajores.

Members of the expedition team will join AIG and its business partners at the 2015 AIG Winter Summit at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont in March. Leading up to the Winter Summit, AIG business partners, clients, brokers, and associates will be able to contribute donations to DSUSA. The funds collected will help DSUSA rebuild the lives of wounded veterans through sports that improve self-confidence, promote independence, and unite families through shared healthy activities.