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Veteran Reaches Shocked By What He Sees After Reaching Summit Of Mount Kilimanjaro

A Marine veteran decided to make sure that his life after service was full of adventure, and he's certainly succeeded.

Kionte Storey, an amputee and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, has successfully ascended the highest mountain in Africa – Mt. Kilimanjaro. During his final leg of the journey, Mr. Storey woke up close to midnight and began preparing for the tough day to come. For Mr. Storey, finally ascending to the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro represented the end point of months of rigorous physical training and hundreds of hours of mental preparation.

As the hours passed, Mr. Storey climbed higher than he ever had before and reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro – 19,341 feet above sea level – at 10:45. In an interview with Fox News, Mr. Storey described the moment he reached the summit, saying: “You look down and you are above the clouds. I keep saying it was the closest thing to getting to heaven, and then the sun comes out and you can see everything.”

However, successfully reaching the mountain’s summit was not the most extraordinary part of the 29-year-old veteran’s journey. The most amazing aspect of Mr. Storey’s climb was that he had achieved his success while using a prosthetic leg. The epic African journey was made possible by the support of a joint campaign (#Give2Veterans) from two veteran foundations: The Bob Woodruff Foundation and Steve and Alex Cohen Foundation.

The monumental campaign was organized by these foundations and Mr. Storey was given subsidized costs on tickets, accommodation and recreation. Mr. Storey was accompanied by another veteran, 25-year-old Jake Rath, and the pair shared the use of a DSLR 360-degree camera.

Despite the high-quality camera, neither veteran believes that their camera photos give justice to the beauty of their surroundings. “The photos don’t do it justice,” Mr. Storey emphasized. “To see the mountain in the starlight, thousands of stars, that was an amazing sight to see. I was amazed by Africa,” recalled Mr. Storey.

Mr. Storey became a member of the Marine Corps in 2007 and was seriously injured during his deployment in Afghanistan. When Mr. Storey stepped on an improvised explosive device, his right leg was so badly injured that he ended up losing the leg below the knee. However, the horrifying experience did nothing to quell Mr. Storey’s adventurous spirit. Hiking and sporting became the center point of Mr. Storey’s physical and mental rehabilitation plan.

These activities kindled a love for mountaineering and, in 2013, Mr. Storey made history when he became the first amputee and first African-American to ascend Mount Vinson in Antarctica. However, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro was several orders of magnitude more difficult than Mt. Vinson and both men were initially unsure if it was the right path. “I didn’t know how my body was going to respond [in Africa],” said Mr. Storey. “My leg did well all the way up – it did a lot better than I expected.” Mr. Rath has a similar opinion, saying, “We both trained a good amount – we were fit. The hardest was the mental challenge. For each step you take, it’s the highest step you have taken."

Source: Fox News
Photo: Jake Rath

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