BRUNSWICK, Ohio — A Brunswick man is about to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and it's a challenge he's been preparing for his whole life.
From playing with G.I. Joe as a child to becoming a military officer as an adult, for nearly 20 years now, the U.S. Army has been both a career and calling for Christopher Farrenholz, 41.
"It has given me a lot of discipline and it's affected how I view things," Farrenholz said.
He says it has helped him see what is important in life and for him, that's experiences and helping people.
That preparation and perspective is now taking him to new heights: conquering Africa's tallest mountain and the water crisis.
"In Sub-Saharan Africa, mothers leave their families and children miss school as they walk for hours to collect water that is dirty and spreads disease,” explains a video from The Chris Long Foundation.
Farrenholz has been chosen to be part of Conquering Kili. It is a group of clean water advocates, military veterans and professional athletes who climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness and money for the clean water initiatives of the NFL Waterboy's Charity, an initiative of The Chris Long Foundation.
This year, they’re building wells for elementary schools in Tanzania.
"I am going to be providing water to children, and when you see those children smile, how can you not take away some self-satisfaction that you helped that person smile," he said.
It will be an impressive physical achievement to make it to the top, but it’s not just a geographical mountain Farrenholz will be climbing.
For him, Conquering Kili also symbolizes conquering proverbial mountains in life — like the invisible wounds of war many veterans face.
The military has taken Farrenholz around the world, including two deployments in Iraq, where he says were his most difficult.
“Helping people," he said. "That's really what we’re all here for. Having people to help support me as well as me supporting others — that’s really important.”
Farrenholz says they're set to summit on Feb. 23, four days up and two days down.
He is raising $7,500 to help build the wells.
You can help support his goal and learn more about the cause and foundation ahead of the ascent, which Farrenholz says he cannot wait to get started on.
Click here for more information.
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