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 wife, 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 March of 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 family responsibilities, 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. He competed his initial goal in September of 2016 and remains an advocate for PTSD awareness. He recently completed a 300 mile journey from North Carolina to Washington, DC, with fellow awareness advocate, Terry Share, the “Walking Marine” .
A Fresh Start
To show our appreciation for Michael’s service and support of our efforts, Nine Line Foundation took a new approach in giving back to our wounded veterans. We purchased a self-sustaining hydroponics / aquaponics system from Nelson – Pade, one of the leading hydroponics / aquaponics manufacturers / training centers in the country for the Boncek family, allowing Michael to learn a trade in hydroponics farming, generate revenue for his family, and provide a new activity to keep himself busy.