CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Brandon Matteson decided to spend his summer going above and beyond by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, the largest mountain on the African continent and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
It’s a tall feat for a man who would be the first to tell you, reaching those kinds of peaks has never been a priority.
“I’ve heard people talk about it before and it’s it’s quite an accomplishment,” said Matteson.
The former Army Ranger has spent the last several months gearing up to take on the mountain by hiking out at Palo Duro Canyon.
“You know, we’re in the High Plains, the panhandle of Texas, there’s not a lot of altitude here,” said Matteson. “I’ve been doing a lot of walking, a lot of miles on my boots and weight on my back.”
Matteson knows about looking out for others. This hometown hero has received multiple awards, medals, and letters of commendation.
“I’ve been there for other guys that had the same back story as me because I had already been through it,” said Matteson. “I was able to walk next to them and facilitate some sort of fellowship and healing with them because of the horrible things that I’ve been through.”
Matteson has faced an uphill climb personally. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 28 and has struggled with PTSD.
Training for this climb was derailed more than a month ago because of surgery but that wasn’t going to keep him off the mountain.
“Just to be asked and to have it facilitated by a nonprofit and by the people of Sheepdog,” said Matteson. “It is just amazing that they’re doing that for us.”
Sheep Dog Impact Assistance put the trip together, taking four Purple Heart recipients to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro along with six other veterans including Matteson.
“We’re to this point now where the big why is to inspire others, to inspire men and women from every background,” said Sergeant Major Lance Nutt. “To appreciate that you have to quit with the excuses on why you can’t and why you don’t and do your best to live your best life.”
Sergeant Major Lance Nutt founded the organization 11 years ago to help first responders and members of the military.
“As we thought about it, the realization was that helping others through our difficult times, we quickly realized that we were better for it,” said Nutt.
Matteson will tell you he’s better for it.
“Pain shared is pain divided, and you’re not a lesser, you’re not weak for doing it,” said Matteson. “You’re not weak to be emotional about it. That’s all human traits, and it’s all about healing.”
Healing while helping others, one step at a time.
To learn more about Sheep Dog Impact Assistance, you can watch our full interview with Sergeant Major Lance Nutt about their Warrior Path Program below: