Dick Ward (L)
29th Infantry, 1944

Erik Schlimmer
82nd Airborne, 1993
Erik has two passions: exploring wilderness and helping veterans. Using the secure Paypal button on this page, you can provide a donation that funds Erik's expeditions and supports veterans. Win-win! The organization Erik works with is Veterans on the 48, a 501c3 nonprofit that organizes and leads group hikes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. They get veterans outside, promote healthy lifestyles and camaraderie, attend wilderness classes, purchase hiking equipment, and present veterans who climb that range's 48 4,000-foot peaks with official finisher patches and completion letters. Ninety percent of all funds raised through The Hiking Veteran are donated straight to this fine organization.

Erik chose to serve partly because his grandfather had served. Richard Ward entered the Army in 1943 as a field lineman, and on June 6, 1944, he took part in the assault of Omaha Beach. He fought throughout the European Theater with the 29th Infantry Division for two years and survived the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the American Defense Service Ribbon, American Campaign Ribbon, Army Good Conduct Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon (with four campaign stars), and French Croix De Guerre Ribbon (with arrowhead device for his D-Day assault). Richard Ward died in 2018 at the age of 92.

Erik entered the Army in 1991 during the First Gulf War and served as an airborne infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division. During his enlistment, Erik completed 25 simulated-combat nighttime parachute operations and a four-month deployment to Central America. He attended Fort Irwin National Training Center's Desert Warfare School, Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain Course, Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System Course, High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle Driver Course, and Dragon Missile Jump Pack Course. He earned the expert rifleman badge, U.S. parachutist badge, Honduran parachutist badge, Army Lapel Button, Army Service Ribbon, and National Defense Service Medal.