IRONMAN FLORIDA

Ironman Florida - November 6th 2021

On November 6, 2021, patriot and philanthropist Sam Norman, will be competing in the Ironman Florida in Panama City Beach to raise money for Guardian Revival. Growing up in rural Georgia, Sam has always had a strong competitive drive and desire to succeed, achieving both academic and athletic scholarships and playing collegiate varsity sports while finishing at the top of his graduating class. Sam then went onto have a successful career working in technology where he developed a strong passion for coaching and developing others while challenging them to “be extraordinary”.  Now retired, Sam spends the bulk of his time committed to his two passions, fitness and philanthropy. To date, Sam has raised over $500K for various nonprofits supporting veterans and other like causes. Sam chose to dedicate this Ironman to Guardian Revival in support of its two veteran programs: Boots & Paws & Another Summit.

The Ironman is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world, consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run, raced in that order. The Ironman series draws some of the world’s top endurance athletes and is known to be the pinnacle of mental and physical achievement in the endurance racing arena as competitors put in thousands of hours of blood, sweat, and tears during preparation and race day to endeavor what very few have completed.

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With what is unfolding in Afghanistan, where 800,000 veterans served and over 2,000 service members paid the ultimate sacrifice- including 13 service members last week, we must be prepared, now more than ever, to provide more resources and support to address veteran suicide and mental health issues as many of our service members may now be forced to question what their purpose was in that painful twenty-year war. Many who served and supported our efforts in Afghanistan, including Gold Star Families of the fallen and the tens of thousands who still carry the wounds of war will likely have a difficult time processing this situation for years to come.

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It is not only our military veterans in need, but also veterans of our first responder communities – fire & rescue, EMS, and law enforcement – who often experience just as much, if not more, traumatic experiences during their careers. On average, between 18 – 20 military veterans die to suicide each day and more first responders died by suicide last year than in the line of duty. Considering our military service members and first responders sacrifice so much for our freedoms, safety, and security, it is our American obligation that we not only raise awareness of this mental health epidemic, but also operationalize effective treatment options which are scalable and accessible to our veteran populations.

Another Summit

Another Summit is an outdoor adventure and education program which offers guided outdoor activities in the Hudson Valley, a proven method for increasing veterans' sense of belonging and helping with their transition into civilian life.

Boots & Paws

Boots & Paws provides veterans in need with working dogs for mental health support. Dogs are awarded along with a care package, which includes professional training sessions, veterinary coverage, food for up to a year, toys, leashes, and other essential care equipment.