2024 Conquering Kili Class
U.S. Army Veteran
Apollo Beach, FL
Luke was raised on a small farm in mid-west Michigan and, like many small-town kids seeking adventure, joined the Army in the summer of 1989. Over his 25-year career, he lived in Germany, Hawaii, and several states within the continental U.S. Luke spent 15 years as an Army Green Beret – ultimately leading a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (SCUBA) Team; the highlight of his Army career. Luke has several combat deployments in Iraq as well as temporary duty assignments in locations like Germany, throughout the Pacific Rim, New Zealand, and Australia. He retired from Active Duty in 2014 out of U.S. Special Operations Command and remained in the Tampa Bay area with his family. He continues to support Special Operations Forces around the globe as a Defense Contractor at USSOCOM.
In 2018 after multiple lower leg injuries and surgeries, Luke underwent surgery to remove several screws in his ankle. That procedure unleashed an infection that ultimately resulted in the amputation of his lower leg. Luke turned this life-changing event into a positive by pledging to serve as an advocate for adaptive athletes. Luke focused his recovery efforts to train and compete in triathlons. In 2021, Luke competed in the full 140.6-mile Florida Ironman race in Panama City, FL and earned the title Ironman. He continues to inspire others by swimming with the Navy SEALs in the Tampa Bay Frogman Swim and the Navy SEAL Hudson River Swim from Liberty Park, NJ to Battery Park, NYC.
His passion for helping others does not end with his SOF military family. Luke is also a member of Ye Notorious Krewe of the Peg Leg Pirate, a Tampa-based pirate krewe that provides financial assistance to help amputees acquire prosthetics, complete adaptive home renovations, and evaluate other ways to meet their needs. The Krewe also provides custom-made hand cycles and tricycles to amputee children. The tricycles provide ongoing physical therapy and increase the children’s ability to socialize with their peers.
The Conquering Kili 2024 climb will be another way to inspire others to remain active despite their challenges. Luke lives by the philosophy you must show up to win and he is ready to take on new heights! Like previous challenges, Luke is all in to serve a cause greater than himself.
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.