Justin Matejcek of Owatonna reports that the first year of operation, the Veterans Adventure Group was a huge success in 2016.

Matejcek, a 2006 Owatonna High School graduate and U.S. Army veteran, founded the group as a nonprofit organization whose goal is to build teams of veterans to accomplish challenging tasks. He saw a need for veterans to create bonds with others who had similar experiences as members of the military. Their motto is build, train, equip, execute. Teams of veterans work together to train for their task while being supplied with the necessary equipment. The group held a skidiving demonstration last summer in Owatonna.

In a letter to KRFO Radio, Matejcek reports "we ventured from Canada to Key West, Mt. Mitchell to Mt. Rainier, and free fell from 14,000 feet to the earth. The most challenging trip took six months of grueling training, but led us to the summit of Mt. Rainier. Not only did the team members master mountaineering, they formed friendships that will last through life."

One of the veterans, Guff, summed it up, "every step was miserable, but I loved every minute of it."

Goals in 2017 include forming a scuba diving team, a base jumping team and an ultra-marathon team. They also have plans for mountain biking and more mountaineering and skydiving. Matejcek adds that they plan to break a world record in September by paddle boarding the length of the Mississippi River.

The group's headquarters is in Nashville, Tenn., and is a volunteer-run organization.

submitted by Veterans Adventure Group