The physical injuries I sustained- the collapsed lung, de-gloved hand with severe nerve damage to two fingers, and damaged knee - were nothing compared to the internal baggage I carried from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I had issues with painkiller addiction, stress management, and several other internal problems. Overcoming these problems was not a quick and easy process, but more of a slow and gradual climb with several quick and steep drops.
I joined Project Echelon in the summer of 2018. Through the Veteran Mentorship Program, Project Echelon connected me with Ricky Arnopol, one of their elite cyclists, who is still my coach that creates my cycling training regimen and is readily available to answer any questions I have from equipment to nutrition and even pre-race talks. Project Echelon has helped me with my internal healing so much that I joined the Board of Directors for Project Echelon as the Director of Military Relations.
This season I have already found successes in my first two races with a fourth-place finish in the Strade Verde Race and a first-place finish in the Trooper Brinkerhoff Memorial Race, both in upstate New York. I could have never done this without the support of Project Echelon’s Veteran Mentorship Program and Ricky Arnopol at the helm of my training and nutrition. I am looking forward to more successes for the remaining of this early 2019 cycling race season.
The Project Echelon community continues to grow!
In 2018, Project Echelon served 67 veterans, almost quadrupling the number of veterans we served in 2017. In 2019 we have set out to serve 100 veterans and are proud to share that we have positively impacted the lives of 63 men and women since January 1, 2019 and are on track to exceed our goal.
None of this would be possible without the support and advocacy of our followers and readers like you. Please continue to share our mission and vision and direct any veteran family or friends you think might benefit from our work to www.projectechelon.org.
Zimmer takes to the podium at Joe Martin Stage Race. The Joe Martin Stage Race is one of four UCI stage races in the United States, drawing in the best riders from across the country and internationally. After a difficult and rainy Stage 1, Matt and the team took advantage of a tired peleton and sent Matt Zimmer up the road for a late breakaway move, which ultimately earned Matt the stage win and the yellow leaders jersey for the race. Matt went on to take 4th in the overall in the competition.
Wrestling the Gila Monster
The Tour of The Gila is a true test of fitness and mental fortitude. The 2019 edition of the race was no exception. The team rode as a strong and cohesive unit to put two riders in the top 20 with Matt Zimmer and Zach Nehr and earn a top 10 in Stage 3 with Evan Hartig.
Zach Nehr shares his personal perspective from the race and how competition at this level can bring you high highs and low lows in a single day. All of which, when approached the right way, helps us become better for it.
Project Echelon sponsors 20 veterans and active service members in the Armed Forces Challenge, building community and fellowship. The Armed Forces Challenge, held annually at the Northwest Military Academy, was conceived of by William M. Anderson, a retired Marine Sniper and Navy Seal. All funds raised from The Challenge will support the Military and Veterans Resource Center (MAVRC) at UW-Milwaukee and Camp Hometown Heroes.
More on the Armed Forces Challenge and why it was created
Rose Glenn Elementary School in Waukesha Raises $1,700 to support Project Echelon through the Step It Up Kids program.
Project Echelon had the pleasure of getting to share the Project Echelon mission of supporting our veterans and the importance of physical activity with over 300 elementary school students. Their response... come together as a community to raise money for Project Echelon through physical activity. Truly inspiring and grateful for the commitment, passion, and service of these young community members and their teachers!
The students pictured and who presented the check were students with parents who are active duty or military veterans, making this donation and experience especially meaningful and special.
Educating, Equipping and Empowering Veterans and the Community. Eric Hill, co-founder of Project Echelon, recently had the opportunity to share the mission and vision of the organization on WISN AM 1130 "Milwaukee's Philanthropic Community Radio" presented by the Ellenbecker Investement Group. The show provided a platform to inform and educate our community about issues our veterans face and the resources that we can provide to support them.
Winning Together; City Lights Awarded Platinum Medal for Hazy IPA. City Lights Brewing has been a great new partner of the Project Echelon organization, having hosted 3 Miracle Monday Donation Tap Room nights, raising $1750 to support our work, in addition to their already generous sponsorship commitment. At Project Echelon, we believe good things come to good people who are persistent and pursue their passion. City Lights is the hops in the beer to that statement, recently winning several medals that the World Brewing Championships. Believe me, you won't be disappointed, so get over to City Lights today!
In December of 2018, Jimmy the Brewmaster won an International Gold Medal in a competition sponsored by tastings.com: http://www.tastings.com for his luxuriously silky Coconut Porter. In February of 2019, Jimmy won an International Gold Medal for his delightfully refreshing Mexican Lager.
In the most recent competition, Jimmy the Brewmaster’s Hazy IPA earned a 96-point rating, a “Superlative” designation and a Platinum Medal. City Lights Hazy IPA was rated by tastings.com as the #1 IPA in the world and was their 11th highest rated beer in the last five years.
Veterans to CEO's - How one "Family of Companies" is Getting it Right. Grunau is a member of the APi Group's family of companies, an organization that is committed to hiring, training, and raising up veterans to be leaders in industry. In 2018 alone, APi Group hired and retained 500 veteran employees! The current president of Grunau, Bill Ball, is one of the veterans who has grown as a leader through the APi Group. Chapeau!
Grunau Company has been the benchmark of excellence since 1920. From concept to commissioning, they have the expertise and experience to collaborate on your next project. You will find Grunau’s professional approach combined with their innovative use of the newest technology and work philosophies create a unique business relationship: The Grunau Experience. There is a strong focus on your success and providing the best overall value to you and your project.
Photos by Snowy Mountain Photography