Iraq to Everest: Medic aims for earth's highest peak
Staff Sgt. Meghan Markson, a force protection manager with the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, plans to remodel the St. Paul home she and her husband share.
First Lt. Jessica Westendorf, a Little Falls, Minn., native, and a sustainment operations officer with the 34th Inf. Div., plans to take a Caribbean vacation in St. Lucia.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Bari plans to climb mountains.
Of course, Bari, currently deployed to Contingency Operating Base Basra, intends to start small and work his way up: first a lowly hill, say like Pike's Peak in Colorado, then a little knoll, like Mount McKinley in Alaska, and then finally, his ultimate goal: Mount Everest in Nepal.
Bari, who has "always enjoyed doing stuff outdoors," said he found this calling in the woods of northern Minnesota last fall.
"I started rock climbing up in Duluth in the summer and fall of 2008," said the St. Louis Park, Minn., native, "and really, I instantly fell in love with rock climbing."
Trips across the Appalachian Trail followed, and Bari, a medic with the 34th Inf. Div., found himself falling in love with the art of the trudge.
"I really enjoyed the terrain, the angles that you take going up and down hills, especially wearing a pack," said Bari, who wondered if it was an Army thing. "It was a lot of enjoyment, just getting outside, kind of free out there."
Bari and his friends began to talk about taking a rock-climbing trip, but a different kind of challenge interrupted Bari's plans: a deployment to Iraq...