The Surprising, Eco-Friendly Place to Store Data Servers, Safer Ways to Care for the Sick and More

Why Data Farms Are Heading Underwater, CityLab
According to an animated Walt Disney classic, everything’s better, down where it’s wetter. That’s exactly what computer giant Microsoft learned when it submerged a data farm under the sea. Cold ocean temperatures eliminates the need for massive, energy-sucking cooling systems, which land-based servers require.
Hospitals Focus on Doing No Harm, The New York Times
When one hears that an estimated 98,000 and 440,000 people die because of preventable errors at hospitals, it’s easy to think that doctors are breaking their promise to do no harm. In response, healthcare facilities nationwide are implementing new procedures — from the somewhat common sense (practicing consistent hand washing) to the more complex, like immediate monitoring for symptoms of sepsis and changing hospital culture.
Here’s How Houston Boosted Mass Transit Ridership by Improving Service Without Spending a Dime, Vox
Thanks to overcrowding, late arrivals and seemingly constant price hikes, it’s no wonder that subways and buses get a bad rap. In the highway-riddled city of Houston, transit officials found a way to boost ridership: by emphasizing frequency over geographic scope. More importantly, however, was their discovery of a mass transit strategy that can be replicated coast to coast, at no cost.

This City Fixed Its Public Transit System Without Spending a Dime

Houston just revamped its entire transit system, an upgrade that doubles the number of frequent bus lines but didn’t cost a cent.
Some 2.1. million residents live in the nation’s fourth largest city, and they’re spread over a wide geographic area. (Point of reference: Nearly eight times as many people live on one New York City block compared to Houston.) And since the Texas town is known as a place where cars are a prerequisite, this makes Houston METRO’s feat all the more astonishing.
How did the transit authority do it? By focusing on areas where ridership could be increased and people could be moved most efficiently. Duplicate routes and meandering zig-zags that were originally designed to pick up a few hard-to-reach passengers were dropped.
A small number of residents, designers admit, will have to walk further to reach service, but only 0.5 percent of bus riders will be more than one-quarter of a mile from a stop.
“The core idea of the new network is the high-frequency grid,” says planner Jarrett Walker. Downtown, for instance, this means riders will be able to catch any bus within 15 minutes and transfer somewhere else along the line. While that may require one additional stop than riders are used to, residents will be able to move around town much faster than ever before.

Only 1 in 5 New York City Students Graduates from College. This Nonprofit Is Going to Change That

It’s a sad fact that fewer than one in 10 American kids raised in impoverished neighborhoods will graduate from college. But in two major U.S. cities, one organization successfully has flipped that statistic on its head.
OneGoal, an educational nonprofit geared to low-performing students in low-income Chicago and Houston neighborhoods, has demonstrated its worth: 83 percent of OneGoal fellows have earned or are actively pursuing a college degree.
That’s why the organization’s leadership is ready to take OneGoal’s proven model to New York City, America’s largest school district and the place where education reforms either make it big or fall apart. Once there, they’ll be graded alongside Harlem Children’s Zone, InBloom (which, it should be noted, got an F), Amplify, Knewton and other innovators changing the way classrooms work.
The city has an acute need for OneGoal: 12 years after entering public high school, only one in five New Yorkers will earn a college degree. Plus, a quarter of the city’s high school grads drop out of college during their freshman year.
“We have been in Chicago for the last eight years, and we’ve really proved what’s possible with a set of students. Once we started to see real results, we almost had a moral imperative to work to serve more students,” explains Nikki Thompson, executive director of OneGoal’s New York operation. After the expansion to Houston in 2013, “it became clear that we could replicate it in other cities. And in the world of social justice, there’s no school system like New York.”
OneGoal’s key belief is that students succeed by empowering themselves. The program’s teacher-led model focuses on training educators to boost the lowest achievers by conducting an intervention with the ones who are usually overlooked: OneGoal’s fellows begin with an average GPA of 2.7 (B-) and a 729 SAT score. Half are black, 42 percent are Latino and 90 percent qualify for free or reduced lunch. In contrast, QuestBridge, an organization with a similar mission, tries to pluck out what Thompson calls “the talented tenth,” students most likely to succeed at a selective college.
Pioneering a form of character development, OneGoal’s unique three-year curriculum spans from junior year of high school to freshman year of college and is centered on shattering stereotype disadvantaged students’ carry about themselves so they come to see college as “realistic” and “attainable.” Project directors hone a student’s ability to ace standardized tests, admissions essays and financial aid applications, instilling them with leadership skills of “professionalism, ambition, integrity, resilience and resourcefulness” early — all of which puts them on a path bound for college, and from there, gives them the tools to succeed.
In classes of 25 to 30 kids, “we do actual role-play with the students, not just reading the material,” Thompson says. Analyzing real-world situations, they discuss what actions to take when you and your roommate get into a fight, for instance, or how to manage when there isn’t a teacher saying, “Make sure to bring your homework.” “Once they’re in college,” Thompson says, “it becomes almost muscle memory.”
In New York City, OneGoal is looking to replicate success stories like that of Kewauna Lerma, who was profiled in Paul Tough’s “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.” Raised on the South Side of Chicago, Lerma was barely pulling in a C- average and already had a rap sheet when she became a OneGoal fellow. “I didn’t really have a family. I was scattered all over the place, no father, with my grandma sometimes,” she says in the book. “It was all messed up. Jacked up.” Through the program, she went from being the girl who scored in the bottom percentile on a practice ACT test to having straight A’s on her report card senior year of high school.
Freshman year at Western Illinois University brought Lerma new difficulties, like a tough biology class that seemed far over her head. She didn’t know half the big words her professor used, but she sat in the front row. After class, she always asked him to definitions the words that stumped her. Money was always tight, and Lerma says she once didn’t eat for two days when she had no cash. But she persisted, as OneGoal taught her to do. Her biology grade? A+.
Like Lerma, OneGoal will face many challenges when it makes the move to the Big Apple, particularly in winning support from key political players and making sure they don’t overstep any boundaries with the powerful teachers union. “New York is just so different when you talk about size and scale and competition. There are 100 high schools in Chicago. In New York, there are over 500 high schools. It’s just a different ballgame,” Thomson says. “The challenge is differentiating ourselves.” Additionally, the New York City pilot will need to navigate through a few changes OneGoal is making to its Chicago model, including a fee structure to help fund the nonprofit’s work and a data systems program to help track academic and non-cognitive progress.
But Thompson, a Teach for America alum and chief of staff while Joel Klein served as NYC’s school chancellor, has a network of connections she can draw on. Her efforts so far are showing results. After a roundtable last year, Acorn Community High School in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights signed on to host one of the seven to 10 pilot classes that are anticipated for fall. And the Arbor Brothers, a philanthropic organization that funds social entrepreneurs in the Tri-State area, gave a $60,000 grant to the expansion efforts.
After New York, the group plans to take on five more school districts by 2017. For all their rapid success, OneGoal’s staff has never lost sight of their mission. Whether for seven students or 7,000, the group’s “one goal” remains the same: College graduation. Period.
LISTEN: To This American Life episode, which features former OneGoal Fellow Kewauna Lerma.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that there are 40 or 50 high schools in Chicago. The correct number is 100.
(Homepage photograph: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

How Turning Row Homes Into Works of Art Helps Single Mothers

This year’s class of MacArthur Foundation Genius Grants, which includes winning $625,000 with no strings attached, include an impressive offering of scientists, mathematicians and poets. But a Houston artist’s work on a small community — where an art experiment has led to economic revitalization over the last two decades — may be one of the more fascinating programs of note.
Rick Lowe, a Houston artist and recipient of this year’s MacArthur Grant, has been working on Project Row Houses since its inception in 1993. The conceptual project began began with just 22 houses in one of Houston’s oldest African-American communities and has grown to more than 70 buildings across the neighborhood, according to City Lab.
Lowe and a group of artists transformed the area into what he refers to as “social sculpture,” which includes housing for young, single mothers, an arts incubator for budding artists and a community support program. But that’s not all.
Project Row Houses also focuses on architectural and historical preservation, which include some of the 1930-era shotgun homes that comprise part of the properties.

“Houston is not a place that is accustomed to preserving its history. Or having a high cultural identity in its neighborhoods,” Lowe says. “Project Row Houses at least gives Houston an example of how that can happen.”

The Young Mother Residential Program, or subsidized transitional housing for single mothers between the ages of 18 and 26 with children under the age of 17, provides support to find employment and education.

The project launched a separate nonprofit in 2003. The community development corporation is a support center committed to “strengthening, sustaining and celebrating the life of the Third Ward community,” according to the site.

But more than anything, Lowe contends Project Row Houses is first and foremost an art project.

“Project Row Houses is an art project. I always tell people, creating anything, it’s art, especially if it’s something experimental. If it’s new, it’s always hard,” Lowe says. “To bring a painting into being on a blank canvas — if you think about it, that’s impossible. How can that happen?”

The project is also home to an arts incubator and has partnered with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, since 2004 to host the Glassell Core Fellow Artist residency. The recipient receives a one or two-year residency while the Summer Studios program exhibits work from selected local college or university art students. The project also serves as an arts venue for other artists.

But how will winning the grant help the thriving community? Lowe isn’t sure, but says that the project will look to food issues next and a possible “little small museum thing we’re playing around with.”

Project Row Houses has informed several other projects across the country including the Watts House Project in Los Angeles, the Transforma Projects in New Orleans and more recently, the Trans.lation: Vickery Meadow in Dallas. Lowe is also heading up the Pearl Street revitalization program in Philadelphia’s North Chinatown neighborhood.

MORE: This Valley Girl is Investing in Female Entrepreneurs

5 Cities That Are Using Water Bills to Identify People in Need

Earlier this year, Detroit ignited controversy when the city government shut off water service to more than 4,000 residences who were late on utility bills. While the crackdown sparked negative press, a pilot program is using the same concept to help low-income residents in financial distress in five cities across the country.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is rethinking the way in which we identify people needing support by using late bills as a signal of distress through a two-year project known as LIFT-UP.

The cities of Houston, Savannah, Ga; Louisville, Ky.; St. Petersburg, Fla. and Newark, N.J. have partnered with NLC to launch an initiative that uses utility bills to help residents with financial and economic stability, according to Governing. While each city’s pilot program is different, all five underscore the idea of supporting residents with outstanding bills in low-income communities.

Outstanding public utility bills are common in most large urban sprawls. In Detroit, half of its customers were past due this year with owing up to $90 million. Some argue that many customers have the money to pay but choose not to.

“I think it’s been common knowledge that the water bill has been placed on the back burner [by some customers], in part because we haven’t been aggressive enough,” said Gregory Eno, a spokesman for the Detroit Department of Water and Sewerage. He points out that after the city shut down services to 4,531 customers in May, 84 percent paid the bills to regain service within 48 hours.

But others contend that while people may prioritize paying off other bills before utility costs, cracking down could make the situation worse. Which is why LIFT-UP is using the process to educate truant customers.

Savannah, which launched a pilot last August, has signed up at least 50 residents allowing them to pay smaller amounts as well as extend the repayment time frame. To apply, residents must have had their water cut off at least once in the past two years, owing an amount ranging from $150 to $500. Customers can pay 25 percent of their bill rather than 50 percent of what’s owed.

Part of the southern city’s initiative, which is run by nonprofit Step-Up Savannah, also entails a one-on-one financial counseling session with a nonprofit provider to help residents budget for bills as well as help them find out if they’re eligible for public aid. After completion, participants receive a $50 credit to their next water bill, which is provided by private foundations partnering with the program. Savannah has seen 13 customers complete the program since its inception.

Detroit is also getting on board with reframing the conversation. The city has planned a financial assistance program through a $1.1 million fund — paid for by voluntary 50-cent donations from water — which will help match monthly payments from low-income customers who have had water services shut off or are at risk.

MORE: Which City Has the Best Tap Water?

From the Boardroom to the Farm: Meet the Woman Helping African Refugees Make a Living Off the Earth

With its downtown high rises housing global oil companies, and its vast, sprawling suburbs that can only be reached by navigating packed freeways and dizzying highway overpasses, Houston does not seem to be a place where a farmer could find a quiet corner to coax a harvest from the soil. But thanks to the unlikely partnership between a co-founder of a software company with nary a notion about gardening and a small group of African refugees with deep roots in the Congo’s fertile soil, several small urban farms are flourishing — bringing hope and joy to the immigrants and fresh produce to their neighbors.
Plant It Forward was established by Teresa OʼDonnell, co-founder of Bridgeway Software, who says, following the success of her company, she was “looking for a means to give back to the community.” The group’s genesis was sparked by a story in the Houston Chronicle about the problem some Iraqi refugees (many of them doctors and engineers) were having finding jobs. “I thought it would be a good fit,” O’Donnell says. So she contacted Catholic Charities, a major worldwide force in refugee resettlement efforts. They implied that helping these Iraqi professionals settle was not much of a challenge compared to the giant problems facing immigrants with few skills.
Houston is the number one refugee destination in the United States, according to the U.S. State Department. Some 70,000 immigrants from 78 countries have settled in the Texas metropolitan area since 1978 — many drawn to its healthy economy and low housing prices.
To help make her aware of their needs, Catholic Charities suggested she accompany a volunteer that was meeting refugees at Houstonʼs international airport. “It was a seminal moment,” she says. OʼDonnell watched as nine people disembarked, “all wearing the same shoes, carrying the same bags, all wearing a name tag and all unable to speak English…I thought, ʻOh my god! They don’t have a chance.ʼ” From that moment she was committed to find a way to help.
MORE: It Wasn’t Easy to Welcome 25,000 Refugees, But Boy, Is This Town Glad It Did
Many of Houston’s African refugees arrive from the war-torn African Republic of Congo-Brazzaville where the earth yields so-called “blood diamonds” and rare metals used to manufacture smartphones and tablets. That same land is blanketed with some of the world’s most fertile soil — a happy circumstance for its multitude of poor citizens. O’Donnell learned that many of the refugees farmed small plots in their home countries, giving her the notion that perhaps they could make a living or get some economic benefit from urban farming.
After meeting with local pioneers in the urban farming movement, O’Donnell set up Plant It Forward, a training program that helps refugees farm crops suitable to the Houston climate (including taking advantage of the region’s two-harvest-a-year cycle) and develop sales skills.
In May 2012, the program leased three acres on the campus of the University of St. Thomas, and later that year, the first class graduated. Now, the organization has increased in size from one to three urban farms (the other two are located at a local church and at a large community garden site) and in scope — including additional classes in urban gardening and business skills. And for the first time ever, this year’s group includes several women, which is particularly important given that female African refugees have a hard time finding jobs due to their lack of English language skills and little educational history, O’Donnell says.
Initially, Plant It Forward aimed to help supplement the income refugees earned by working menial jobs like janitorial services. But it became apparent that, due to the program’s success, some could develop an urban farming business that would provide their entire income. By farming small plots — around two or three acres — and setting up weekly vegetable and fruit stands, several graduates of the program have been able to live off the land and develop a solid, profitable relationships with customers who look forward to the weekly harvests.
One of Plant it Forward’s stars is Sarment (his last name withheld because many refugees harbor understandable fears given their traumatic history). The 51-year-old is a native of Congo-Brazzaville where he had worked as a taxi driver before fleeing and becoming a refugee in neighboring Gabon for 10 years.
“I left the Congo because of the war,” Sarment says through an interpreter. “I left and went to Gabon,” he says. “They told me that I couldn’t drive a taxi because I was a stranger…I made a garden there. In Gabon, I had three people who worked with me in my garden. I was the boss. My garden there was 150 square meters. I mostly grew tomatoes. I also grew eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, sorelle, roselle [hibiscus]. We would sell the vegetables at the market,” he explains.
His garden was a success, but one day, “the military came and said you can’t stay here — if you stay, I will kill you. If I kept farming, they would put me in jail or kill me. I was the boss, so I was in danger, not my workers. After that, the United Nations said it was not safe for me, so they sent me to America.” On Feb. 22, 2010, Sarment, his wife and family arrived in Houston.
In May 2013, Sarment graduated from Plant It Forward’s agricultural program and now operates his one-acre farm in Westbury, a suburb of southwest Houston. He is what the program dubs an “independent farmer,” earning his full income from the produce that he grows. (According to OʼDonnell, independent farmers can gross $30,ooo to 40,000 a year or more in the program.)
Life is good for Sarment now. He and his wife recently welcomed their sixth child — a baby boy — and also his first grandchild. He is taking English language classes and practices with customers at the weekly farm stand sales. “I can work with my family to build my farm and go home and all is good,” he says. “Language is hard — [but farm] work, for me, no problem. I can say itʼs all okay for me in the garden.”
As for his future? “Iʼd like to stay in America. I’d like for my project with farming to grow. I want to stay here, not return to my country. For me — I need my family and my farm. Today this work is small like this. And tomorrow,” he says opening his arms up wide and grinning, “it will be big!”
OʼDonnell, who works full time as the director of Plant It Forward, has big dreams, too. She is working to lease more land and has met with city leaders not just in Houston, but also other cities to explain the concept.
Houston’s neighborhoods have proved enthusiastic about having access to fresh produce, which Plant it Forward sells at stands located at its three farms and at the city’s Urban Harvest Eastside Farmers’ Market on the weekends. The organization also offers a farm share program that delivers its goods to homes on a subscription basis, and O’Donnell is also working to deliver produce from the farms to local chefs.
More so than anything, O’Donnell is excited about the success of this community-building program, which connects her “pioneer farmers” to empty land “that was just being mowed every week”  — satisfying “the huge demand for local food.”
DON’T MISS: How a Pair of College Students Persuaded Their Town to Legalize Urban Farming

This Houston Radio Show Connects Inmates to Life Beyond the Walls

To say that life behind bars is isolating is an understatement. There are restrictions on phone calls and visits. And sometimes, family and friends have to travel long distances — making those in-person visits even more infrequent.
No one understands that more than ex-convicts, who advocate for fostering a support system outside of jail to help reduce the chance of recidivism. And that’s exactly why former inmate Ray Hill created “The Prison Show,” a two-hour program dedicated to Texas’s inmates and hosted on the publicly-funded KPFT radio station every Friday night.

“We simply want them to maintain an outside support system,” Hill told the Texas Tribune in 2012. “Without a support system, when they walk out those doors, they’re going to fall back into the problems that brought them there in the first place.”

The show, launched in 1980, features a variety of segments including call-ins from friends and family, live music performed by former inmates and news programs addressing prison issues like prison health, civil rights and the death penalty, Voice of America reports. The show’s staff is comprised of volunteers — some who served time themselves and others who are affected by incarceration.

Though the program only reaches one-sixth of inmates in Texas, which is considered the largest state correctional system in the U.S. with 109 prisons, it serves as an example for correctional facilities elsewhere.
“What this show has become has led to other shows in other parts of the country adopting a similar format,” said Bill Habern, an attorney featured on the show to talk about legal rights in prison.
The show has even hosted wedding ceremonies, including its own proxy-wedding coordinator Anne Staggs, according to the Texas Tribune. Staggs was a prison nurse and lost her job and visitation rights when her supervisors found out about her relationship with a prisoner. On the airwaves and accompanied by a minister, her family and a wedding cake, Staggs married her incarcerated husband, who listened from his cell as Hill stood in to read the vows.
While “The Prison Show” has inspired stories of unrequited love, it’s mostly a chance for convicts to be a part of a greater community during an often isolating experience. Producer David Collingsworth, a former inmate, first listened in from his cell.

“It showed me that somebody cared,” Collingsworth told VOA. “Somebody was actually out there who cared.”

MORE: Why Prisons of the Future May Look Like College Campuses

A Life of Service: This Couple Wants Every Latino to Achieve the American Dream

Seeing young people not get their fair shake day after day can have a lasting impact on someone.
That was certainly the case with Richard Farias, who began his career as an educational liaison in the Houston, Texas juvenile justice system and now most recently, founded the Houston-based nonprofit American Latino Center for Research, Education & Justice.
“I became much more empathetic,” Richard told Lindsay Peyton of the Houston Chronicle. “I saw my job as trying to help kids, instead of trying to catch them and lock them up. I have a lot more insights on how to help them with the day-to-day.”
Moving on from the justice system, he started one of the first charter schools in Texas in an effort to address the problems he saw. Later on, Richard became the executive director of an alternative high school that gave dropouts a second chance.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker awarded Richard a lifetime achievement award in 2011, but as the launch of his new nonprofit demonstrates, he’s not done helping people yet.
Now with the help of his wife Rita, Richard is seeking to transform Houston neighborhood by neighborhood to become a city that boosts its low-income Latino youth to success. While the Latino population in northwest Houston is growing, Richard told Peyton, “there’s minimal support services for Latinos and their children here.”
Using their knowledge and experience, the couple has already started helping families at a mobile home park in the area. Describing it, Rita said, “You wouldn’t even know it’s there, and the living conditions are terrible.” As they work to transform the neighborhood, they keep the goal of their nonprofit in mind: To enrich the lives of low-income communities through education, arts, justice, and economic opportunity.
While the Fariases are zeroing in on one neighborhood, their nonprofit is also focusing on the big picture — by organizing the Latino Education Summit at Rice University in August. “It will hopefully serve as a catalyst to affect changes at the state level,” Richard told Peyton.
MORE: Latinos Were Hit Hard By the Recession. Here’s How They’re Fighting Back

Neighborhood Centers Provide New Immigrants an Instant Community

When moving to a new country, finding and gathering everything you need is a daunting, if not almost impossible, task. For immigrants that arrive in Texas, there’s a place that can help them with anything: Neighborhood Centers.
This nonprofit, which was founded in 1907, runs 74 centers in 60 Texas counties, offering everything a newcomer to America needs to get on his or her feet. According to the Associated Press, in 2012, Neighborhood Centers estimates that it helped 400,000 people. In Houston, it offers vital services to a city where 2.5 percent of all naturalized immigrants in America choose to make their homes, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Neighborhood Centers offer everything from after-school programs and fitness classes to job-search assistance, tax preparation and citizenship application help. One perennial favorite is its busy schedule of English classes, which include daytime courses to accommodate the needs of stay-at-home moms.
On the nonprofit’s Baker-Ripley campus in Houston sits the Promise Credit Union, which allows patrons to open bank accounts without Social Security cards or federal work permits — easing the immigrants’ distrust of financial institutions and giving them a safe place to store their money.
The nonprofit also runs a charter school and a welcome center that have been credited with revitalizing some low-income apartment complexes in southwest Houston. They run a thrift store — the Bumblebee Shop — serving as a classroom for patrons who want to find jobs in retail. Workers learn to handle the accounting, inventory, and work schedules. The shop sells items donated by the community, and it’s a good place for people to find affordable clothes for kids, too.
Neighborhood Centers host a knitting group that involves immigrant women in crafting scarves, hats, and other clothing and accessories that they can sell. One of the unifying themes of their programs? To help patrons find ways to make a living even though they don’t have a college degree or perfect English skills.
Often, immigrants start out receiving help from Neighborhood Centers, then return later on as volunteers to help the next wave of newcomers.
Bruce Katz, the vice president of the Brookings Institution, told Dug Begley of the Associated Press, “I think what places need is a vision. There is no lacking capital in the United States. None … What’s needed, and what (Neighborhood Centers) is doing, is putting vision to capital.”
MORE: It Wasn’t Easy to Welcome 25,000 Refugees, But Boy is This Town Glad it Did

Cheer On These Inspiring Wounded Navy SEALs as They Reach for the Sky

Leave it to former Navy SEALs to decide that the best way to get their lives back on track following a series of health crises is to scale Africa’s highest peak: Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Twenty-six year old Will Cannon, of Houston, Texas, is one such climber. Cannon was a sergeant in the Army serving in Afghanistan when he lost his right leg (and his best friend) in an explosion. Unfortunately, his bad luck didn’t end there. After leaving the Army, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and underwent radiation.
During the cancer treatments, Cannon’s spirits sank. But now that he’s in remission, he’s hoping to rejuvenate himself and others by joining a team of wounded veterans who plan to scale Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Cannon will be on hand to help two Navy SEALs who lost both of their legs in service — Bo Reichenbach and Dan Cnossen — complete the difficult ascent. (Cnossen, a Topeka, Kansas native, recently competed at the Paralympics in Sochi, Russia in Nordic skiing.)
Cannon told Roberta MacGinnis of the Houston Chronicle that it’s especially difficult for a Navy SEAL to cope with physical disability. “We are, in our minds, 10 feet tall and bullet proof. We are men. So whenever one of us gets hurt — loses his legs for instance — and we come home, you know, and what do we do? What are we supposed to do? At one point I was leading men into battle, and now I can’t even walk.”
The mountain climbing expedition is part of the Phoenix Patriot Foundation’s mission to bring together small groups of veterans to foster the military bond they miss when their service is over. Jared Ogden, a former Navy SEAL, founded the nonprofit and asked Cannon to join the expedition. The foundation has raised over $15,000 toward its goal of $50,000 to fund the expedition.
Reichenbach and Cnossen will use robotic prosthetics during the week-long climb, which is scheduled for this summer. Reichenbach told MacGinnis, “I’m proving to myself that I’m still capable of doing things that most people can’t do, even though I’m missing both legs from above my knees.”
Which just goes to show that even after injury, Navy SEALS are tougher than most of us will ever be.
MORE: These Blind Vets Train to Climb North America’s Highest Mountain