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Face of Defense: Air Force Reservist Conquers Mount Kilimanjaro

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Jack Sanders
3rd Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska, Nov. 19, 2010 – Many people dream of traveling the world or conquering large obstacles.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force reservist Maj. Lisa Reaver, center, poses with fellow mountain climbers Lauren Drietzler, left, and Heather Ruhle, after summiting Mount Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru Peak in Tanzania. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Maj. Lisa Reaver, an Air Force reservist with the 477th Fighter Group here, was able to do both when she and a group of friends climbed Africa’s highest peak -- Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

“A teammate of mine from rugby did the climb a couple of years ago and said it was a life-changing experience,” Reaver said.

Kilimanjaro’s highest point, Uhuru Peak, rises to an altitude of 19,341 feet above sea level, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Reaver left Alaska Sept. 17 en route to her mountain-climbing quest with a group from the Global Alliance for Africa, a non-profit organization that benefits children orphaned by HIV and AIDS.

The major said she was among the four people of her six-person group that were able to reach Uhuru Peak.

“Mount Kilimanjaro does not look capable of such intensity, but just like the people that guided us up it, you can’t judge a book by its cover,” she said. “Those men are capable of carrying not just their pack, but yours too, on their head, just as Mount Kilimanjaro is capable of keeping people off its peak. It is harder than it looks.”

Reaver said if she had to take one lesson away from her trip it would be, “You don't know what you are capable of until you’re put to the test.”

The trip to Africa, she said, “was a challenge on a couple of fronts, mainly fundraising, as well as the climb. I'm not an expert in either area, and was pushed out of my comfort zone to accomplish both.”

Reaver added, “I learned that I can rely on my friends and family, myself and my faith. Trusting in that, I can succeed at just about anything.”


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