Memorial Day Reminder: Support Team Sawtooth Soldiers’ climb of Mount McKinley to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warriors Project

I wanted to pause for a moment from our daily bloggings and banter about basketball here at Stepien Rules and spread whatever word possible on a cause that I believe is worth donating to and supporting in whatever way you can.  That being the current mission of Team Sawtooth Soldiers to raise money and awareness for the support of our service men and women injured in combat overseas through their climbing of Mount McKinley in June. 

Below is an except from what that mission entails, and how you can help…


“Brought together by a shared love of the mountains and inspired by the sacrifice of so many service members, our climbing team banded together to take on the grandest mountain in North America to champion the Wounded Warrior Project.  Standing at 20,320 feet, Denali will test both our mental and physical resolve.   But each breathtaking step will be made easier by the inspiration that wounded veterans demonstrate daily as they recover from their injuries.  Please join us on our journey by donating directly to the Wounded Warrior Project.  Your much appreciated contributions, large and small, will directly benefit wounded veterans through the hard work and commitment of the WWP.  Donations are made directly to the WWP and will only be used to further their mission.  Keep posted for updates!” 

Amongst those embarking on this climb to raise support for our injured service men and women is Clevelander – and OU Grad – Infantry Captain Mario A. Cicconetti.  Mario recently returned from a 12-month deployment in Baqubah, Iraq were he led as Captain a 35-man elite reconnaissance platoon.  His testimonial for support of the Wounded Warriors Project is below:

“My Brigade Commander, Colonel Thompson –
 commander of over 4,000 troops – wrote me a personalized letter in October 2008 that I recently revisited.  It read, “…HANG TOUGH AND STAY FOCUSED¾YOUR TROOPS ARE COUNTING ON YOU.”  Embracing this philosophy, I led my platoon of soldiers over the corresponding eleven months¾it became a necessity.  As the face of hope and direction for my men, it was imperative I provide a rock-solid foundation and guidance as we dealt with the tragic loss of our brothers-in-arms.  It was my obligation.  While leading a combat patrol of over eighty soldiers, my vehicle was hit with an Explosively Formed Projectile (EFP).  The molten copper slugs immediately disabled the vehicle and inflicted casualties in the heart of enemy territory.  With the help of my sergeants, we evacuated all those in my now blazing vehicle and evacuated all the casualties, but one.  Our driver was trapped in this inferno.  Our attempts to extract him from inside the vehicle engulfed in flames were unsuccessful.  Consumed by heat and smoke, we could not withstand the fire long enough to remove him from these elements inside.  I called for aid.  We removed the engine compartment that had been blown atop the driver’s hatch, immobilizing the soldier inside, preventing his escape.  Lifting the debris and wreckage, we were able to remove the driver and get him to medical care.  Although alive, he will never be physically right again.  Moreover, he may never fully recover from the emotional scars from minutes of entrapment by fire combined with claustrophobia.  But, we remain hopeful.”

For more on Mario go here, but I’ll only add, that he is one of the best people I know, and it’s a privilege to call him my friend of 15 years.  Anything you can do to help him raise awareness and money for this cause in support of those that sacrificed so much for us is a worthwhile endeavor.

The corresponding links to donate, and for more information, are below:

DONATE to the wounded warriors project by sponsoring TEAM SAWTOOTH SOLDIERS’ climb of Mount McKinley

Wounded Warrior Project Website:


You can also DONATE  through text messaging WWP TO 90999 

And even if all you can donate is $5, every little bit will help, and they’d appreciate anything you can do.  

Additionally, if you have a blog, website, or twitter account and can help spread the word on the efforts of TEAM SAWTOOTH SOLDIERS feel free to link to, or tweet about, the corresponding links above as much as you can.  They’d appreciate that too, just as we appreciate everything our millitary men and women have sacrificed and done for us…see you at the top fellas!

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine,,, and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.