Beginning at 2 a.m. Wednesday, Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Pawel Listwan and Albuquerque attorney Matt Vance will step off the South Rim from the Bright Angel Trailhead in pre-dawn darkness Wednesday for a 48-mile “Feat for Justice” fundraising hike to support New Mexico Legal Aid’s Veterans Justice Project.
No camping, no sleeping, no slacking, they will hike “rim-to-rim-to-rim” from the south rim to the canyon floor, up to the north rim, back down and up to the south rim again, all in 22 hours or less.
Listwan and Vance will follow a route descending more than a vertical mile down narrow trails running along sheer cliffs to the Colorado River. After crossing the river and canyon floor, they will hike another vertical mile of steep, switchback trails to climb the north rim. They then will repeat the entire trek in reverse, returning to the South Rim sometime around midnight the same day.
The hike will feature more than 20,000 feet of elevation change, and a 45-degree swing in temperature. As the National Park Service warns: “There are no easy trails into or out of the Grand Canyon.”
The son of an Air Force veteran, Vance chose New Mexico Legal Aid’s Veterans Justice Project to benefit from funds raised by the hike. The Veterans Justice Project provides free legal services for veterans facing legal issues affecting basic needs such as housing, health, employment and family security.
“This organization improves the quality of people’s lives. I’m proud and grateful to be able to join Matt to help them further their worthy mission,” Listwan said. “When they come home and face adversity because of civil legal issues related to benefits, housing, or family issues, they should have a fair field on which to take on those battles. They should have access to the courts and a champion lawyer to help with those fights. New Mexico Legal Aid needs the resources to represent our veterans.”
Listwan and Vance are seeking donors willing to make “sliding scale” pledges that will increase to higher amounts the more quickly they complete the hike. Vance himself is putting his money where his feet are: “If I fail to even try, I will donate $4,800,” he said. “If I’m evacuated by helicopter, I will donate $2,000. No matter what happens, I will donate $1,000.”
Get up to the minute live updates on the progress of their trek through the Grand Canyon by LIKING the Facebook page – www.facebook.com/feat4justice. To view a hiking trail map, click the following link: http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/upload/corridor_map.pdf. Also, follow the progress of their journey through an online GPS tracker here https://share.delorme.com/MatthewVance.
See more at http://www.togetherforjusticenm.org/
Veterans Justice Project
The Veterans Justice Project serves at-risk and homeless veterans who face greater barriers to accessing services and often require special outreach and services as a result of trauma they experienced while serving. Unmet legal needs are a major reason that some veterans become and remain homeless. The Veterans Justice Project provides legal advice, representation, and referrals on a variety of civil legal issues including: child support (modification and arrears forgiveness); debt collection; housing Issues; Veteran’s benefits; access to healthcare’ government benefits; and discharge upgrades. Veterans can call the Veterans’ Justice Project directly at 505.243.7871. The toll free, statewide number is 1.866.416.1922.
New Mexico Legal Aid, Inc.
New Mexico Legal Aid, Inc. (NMLA) is a statewide not-for-profit law firm providing critically needed advocacy and legal representation to low income New Mexicans and to victims fleeing domestic violence regardless of income. NMLA has ten offices located around the state to increase community access to the legal system. NMLA helps New Mexicans and their families maintain fundamental legal rights. We provide free legal help and quality representation for women seeking protection from domestic violence, children seeking access to healthcare, families facing unlawful evictions or foreclosures that result in homelessness, as well as senior citizens, veterans and others trying to obtain federal benefits for which they qualify. Funding for NMLA comes from a number of sources, including the Legal Services Corporation, the New Mexico Civil Legal Services Commission, the Supreme Court of New Mexico Consolidated Civil Legal Services Fund, United Way of Central New Mexico, New Mexico Commission for the Blind, Acequias Nortenas, New Mexico Acequia Association, Children, Youth and Families Department, New Mexico Crime Reparation Commission, the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services and generous attorneys and law firms who contribute to the Equal Access to Justice Campaign.