Sarah Gardner

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    Kili Class

    2025 Conquering Kili Class


    U.S. Air Force Veteran


    Raeford, NC

    Sarah Gardner felt called to join the military after the attacks on September 11th. She graduated college with her Bachelors in Conservation from Kent State University before enlisting in 2004 from her home state of Ohio. Sarah spent 13 years in the U.S. Air Force where she served as an Intelligence Analyst and earned her Masters Degree in Intelligence Studies. Sarah had various assignments allowing her to brief high-ranking generals, collaborate with intelligence agencies worldwide, study explosives, work with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, support special operations and even learn Arabic and serve as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Sarah left the military in 2017 to help her husband Shaun expand their home building business as the Creative Manager; while simultaneously raising and homeschooling their daughter Liberty. Transitioning out of the military, Sarah found support, strength and friendship as part of the CrossFit Raeford community where she spent the past 7 years working out hard and having fun.

    Sarah is also a passionate self-taught watercolor artist who loves painting animals and experimenting with bold colors. She has taught art in person and online to all ages and as an extension of her love for children, teaching, and her community; Sarah enjoys serving weekly as a Classical Conversations Community Tutor.

    Interestingly enough this will not be Sarah’s first time visiting Mount Kilimanjaro. In the mid 80s she was lucky enough to safari in Africa and visit base camp on the Kenyan side. As a young child she was deeply moved by the joy of the people there despite the hardships they faced. Africa has an extremely special place in her heart and has inspired much of her art. She feels blessed and called for service to help the people there obtain clean water, to climb this mountain and to re-visit one of her favorite places on earth after 40 years.


    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.

    Learn more about the program