2018 Conquering Kili Class
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran
Los Angeles, CA
Elliot Ruiz was inspired to join the Marines by his father, who is a Marine Vietnam veteran, and two-time Purple Heart recipient. Ruiz went to boot camp as a 17-year- old in 2002 and became an infantry rifleman. After his training, he served as a scout with the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. In January of 2003 at the age of 17, he became one of the youngest Marines deployed to Iraq as part of the 1st Marine Division. On April 13, 2003, Ruiz was wounded when his unit rescued 7 POWs and had to undergo 14 surgeries on his back and leg. He was awarded the Purple Heart for his wounds received in combat and the Presidential Unit Citation for the rescue of the POW. During his recovery, the medical team warned him that he would have limited mobility, and would likely spend the rest of his life walking with a cane. Today, Ruiz is still undergoing extensive physical therapy for his injuries but is committed to staying active, and supporting other veterans. Ruiz hails from Philadelphia, PA, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with his wife.
Each new Conquering Kili class accepts the challenge to embark for the summit, a walk that represents the miles that many African women journey on a daily basis to fetch water for their families. While training for the climb, each team member works to raise funds and transform communities through the gift of clean water.