It All Started with a Walk of Faith
SGT Christopher Michael Boncek served with the 3/187 Iron Rakkasans. He completed two combat tours, and suffers from PTSD and TBI. Wendy, his wonderful wife of four years is his caregiver and advocate. Together they face the challenges of PTSD and TBI. Mike and Wendy have a blended family of four daughters and live a simple lifestyle in the rural eastern part of North Carolina.
Mike has extensive training in all aspects of outdoor survival and has logged many hours of hiking long distances.
In 2016, Mike and Wendy decided that it was time to stop — to look around and say ENOUGH! They have seen time and time again how our veterans, young and old, are being treated when they come home from combat. All too many are suffering — physically, mentally and emotionally. The suicide rate among veterans is 22 a day — 22 too many.
Wendy and Michael decided that they would embark on a journey to raise awareness — with the ultimate goal being to walk across this great nation. Michael took the lead. In spring 2016, he set off on a 2,200 mile journey from sea to mountain and return in honor of our brothers and sisters in arms. He stepped off on the Mountain to Sea trail in Jockey’s Ridge, NC, hiked across the state and concluded phase one at Clingsman Dome on the NC / TN border, then hiked the return path. Along this path, his greatest pleasure was the opportunity to share his mission and his faith; to bring light to the silent struggle of PTSD and to break the barriers of stigmatization.
Wendy, with the responsibility of the four little ones, stayed at home throughout the journey, but met Michael at designated points every few weeks to bring him supplies, including home-made dehydrated meals.
This was not a decision made lightly, nor without serious preparation. Michael didn’t stop after completing his initial goal. He continues to walk across the country, down the eastern coast of Florida and back, through more mountain ranges, and both rural and urban terrain. Click here to learn more about Michael’s Walk by Faith.
A Fresh Start
To show our appreciation for Michael’s service and support of our efforts, the Nine Line Foundation took a new approach in giving back to our wounded veterans. We partnered with Nelson Pade to purchase a self-sustaining aquaponics system for the Boncek family, allowing Michael to learn a trade in aquaponic farming, generate revenue for his family, and provide a new activity to keep himself busy.