This week’s episode of Borne the Battle features Texas Army National Guard Veteran Cindy McNally and Marine Corps Veteran Nate McDonald, the president and vice president of Irreverent Warriors. McNally and McDonald discuss Irreverent Warriors’ mission to improve mental health and prevent Veteran suicide worldwide by providing a space to build camaraderie at their Silkie Hike events.
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McNally is the CEO and president of Irreverent Warriors. She and her family suffered the tragic and unexpected loss of her husband and Marine Corps Veteran, Rand, who took his own life after years of internal struggle. McNally has three children, two of whom followed their parents’ paths to military careers.
McDonald is the COO and vice president of Irreverent Warriors. He served as an intelligence operative for Special Projects, often jumping from team to team and deploying with a variety of units. Because he suffered multiple TBIs during his service, he chose to leave the military when his ability to perform in the field came into question.
McDonald then worked as a consultant with various US government and military organizations. He lost many comrades due to mental health issues, so when the opportunity to help arose, he joined Irreverent Warriors to positively impact the lives of other service men and women.
One of the greatest contributors to Veteran suicide is isolation, something that Irreverent Warriors seeks to combat by bringing Veterans together. Camaraderie is vital to soldiers during their service, and Irreverent Warriors aims to build it in the Veteran community. The Silkie Hikes are only open to Veterans and active-duty service members and happen across the country. This year, the organization is expanding internationally to recognize that Veteran suicide is not unique to the United States but is a worldwide issue.
McNally and McDonald discuss how they found and joined the organization, gained their leadership roles, ways in which VA can help to combat Veteran suicide, and the stunning impact of Irreverent Warriors on Veterans across the nation.
Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:
Mentioned in this episode:
Jana Jenkins is a podcast intern with the VA’s Digital Media Engagement Team. She is an undergraduate student at the College of Saint Benedict studying Communication.