CONTACT: Nicole Woodie, Fruition Giving
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
FORMER GREEN BERET NATE BOYER JOINS WATERBOYS TO RAISE MONEY FOR CLEAN WATER AND CLIMB MT. KILIMANJARO
-Boyer will be joined by wounded veteran Blake Watson on the climb-
ST. LOUIS, MO. – Nate Boyer, former active-duty Green Beret and former Seattle Seahawks long snapper, has joined the Waterboys Initiative as the first “Waterboys Champion.” Waterboys is the signature program of The Chris Long Foundation. As a “Waterboys Champion,” Boyer is launching Conquering Kili, a project dedicated to promoting awareness around the obstacles veterans face when returning home from combat as well as raising funds to build wells for East African communities. To promote Conquering Kili, Boyer will join wounded combat veteran Blake Watson in climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Boyer will be the first non-active NFL player and first “Waterboys Champion” to commit to using his celebrity to help fund the construction of more wells in East Africa.
Waterboys’ mission is to bring NFL fans and stars together to provide clean water sources to suffering communities in East Africa. The goal of the initiative is to build 32 wells representing each of the 32 NFL teams.
Conquering Kili aims to raise $100,000 to build two wells and send Boyer and Watson up Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the African continent.
The idea for Conquering Kili was born from a call between Boyer and Waterboys founder Chris Long the day after Boyer was released from the Seahawks. The pair discussed football, Boyer’s time spent in the military and Africa and the possibility of helping Waterboys. “I called him the next day and said, ‘How about I take a wounded vet – a guy who is a single-leg amputee, a buddy of mine – how about we go climb Kilimanjaro to raise money?’” says Boyer.
Watson, a single-leg amputee and combat Marine veteran, will make the climb with Boyer in February 2016. Conquering Kili will serve as a life-changing challenge and personal accomplishment for Watson, but is also designed to bring awareness to military veterans and issues they face after returning home from duty. “We want to make this climb for all veterans,” says Boyer. “Especially those living with the mental and physical scars of battle. Waterboys allows us to do more than climb; it allows us to continue our military commitment of service to country and service to others, it provides us with a new mission. Through these wells, we are able to leave a legacy of service that will impact lives for generations to come.”
Long, who was inspired to form Waterboys after climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2013 is glad to see two of his passions, clean water and military efforts, come to life with the Conquering Kili project.
“Announcing Nate Boyer as the first “Waterboys Champion” is exciting for my foundation and me,” said Long. “When we launched Waterboys in August, we had the vision of other celebrities joining our efforts. To have Nate be the first to jump on board is a great honor.”
The money raised by Conquering Kili will allow for the construction of two solar powered, deep-borehole wells at a cost of $45,000 each as well as cover the costs to send Watson and Boyer on the climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The two wells will be dedicated in Watson’s name and in the name of Brad Keys, a fellow Green Beret and close friend of Boyer’s who passed away in 2012.
“With Veterans Day only a couple weeks away, what better time to launch this project that serves as a reminder of the sacrifices that military members make daily for our country and their steadfast commitment to service,” says Long.
“That is what this project is about. Empowering Blake, as a wounded veteran, to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro while also raising funds that will change lives for people that suffer daily,” added Boyer. “When we go overseas on duty in underdeveloped countries, we are serving America, but we are also fighting for the freedom and quality of life for those who don’t have the simple basic resources that we have here, such as clean water. Conquering Kili is a way for us to continue to fight for and serve the people of East Africa without picking up a gun. I hope that people will join us in our mission to support veterans, build wells, change lives and reach the summit of Mt. Kili.”
To donate to the Conquering Kili project, please visit www.waterboys.org/kili.
About Nate Boyer:
Nate Boyer is what many would deem a renaissance man. The former active-duty Green Beret is also a world traveler, a philanthropist and community leader, and a professional athlete as a former member of the Seattle Seahawks. After joining the US Army in 2005, Boyer earned the coveted Green Beret in December 2006. During his time in the military between 2006 and 2012 Boyer was deployed on multiple tours of duty including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as JCET (Joint Command Exchange Training) Missions to Israel, Bulgaria, and Greece. After his exit from active duty, Boyer joined the Texan Longhorns as a long snapper, playing in 39 career games. Boyer has received numerous awards including; the Disney Spirit Award at the ESPN College Football Awards, which is given to the most inspirational figure in college football, the National Football Foundation’s coveted Legacy Award, 2012-13 Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year and in 2012 became the first- ever recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). Additionally, Boyer was named to the 2014 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, which recognizes players whose charitable involvement and community service contributions stand out among all other student-athletes. Boyer joined the Seattle Seahawks for the 2015 pre-season. Boyer’s passions for service to others and love of life-changing experiences prompted him to join Waterboys as the first “Waterboys Champion” — a non-active NFL player who is committed to providing clean water to communities in need by taking the challenge to raise the funds to build a well in East Africa.
About Blake Watson:
Blake Watson enlisted in the Marine Corps in March of 2009. Watson was deployed to the Helmond Province, Afghanistan with 3rd battalion 5th Marines in September of 2010. On December 14, 2010 Watson knelt down on top of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), causing Watson to lose his my left leg above the knee. Watson suffered some severe muscle and tissue damage to his right leg as well has having his left elbow fused. As a result, Watson medically retired from the Marine Corps in December of 2013. Watson currently serves as the Media Director for the Adaptive Training Foundation in Dallas, Texas, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring hope through movement to those with physical impairments.
Waterboys got its start during a 2013 trip by Long to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Long was struck by the beauty of Tanzania and the vibrancy of its people, but also witnessed great suffering due to a lack of clean water. While in Tanzania, Long met Doug Pitt, Goodwill Ambassador for Tanzania, and John Bongiorno, President of the non-profit WorldServe International and was further educated on the needs and available solutions to the clean water crisis.
Returning home, Long began to envision a pathway to champion the need for clean water in East Africa and engage other NFL players in the cause. In 2015, Long created the Waterboys Initiative, selecting WorldServe International as its benefiting charity. Waterboys will work with WorldServe International to build wells to provide life-giving water and all that comes from it – the opportunity for education, good health, and economic stability. There are currently 22 “waterboys,” including Long, on 21 teams that are committed to the effort; see a complete list at committed “waterboys” at www.waterboys.or/waterboys_profiles.
About the Chris Long Foundation:
Formed in 2015, The Chris Long Foundation is committed to giving back to communities through focused efforts around clean water, military appreciation, homelessness and youth in need.