Our intent behind #StokepersonSaturday:

To recognize self-effacing, selfless civil servants who deserve public recognition but for one reason or another, do not attract it.

#StokepersonSaturday is a series recognizing individuals who contribute to their communities with the same hearts we at Combat Flip Flops have: taking action by assisting our respective communities, helping the under-privileged and disabled, and helping progress humanity

For the second post in our #StokespersonSaturday series, we interviewed the 6'7" Stacy Bare who claims the title "Broken Giraffe". Lots of goodness about healing, empathy, and making the world a better place through our actions below. 

Combat Flip Flops: Please tell us a little about yourself... military service history, what attracted you to the army, life and attitude pre, during, post-service (and anything else you'd like us to mention regarding your background).
Stacy Bare: I wanted to join the military since I was five. My goal was the Navy, but in the end they told me I would have to apply for waivers because of my height, so I joined the Army figuring it was better to walk rather than duck under bulk heads for the rest of my life.

I loved my time in service, met amazing people, but ultimately the Army and I had different ideas about my future so I walked away after the first four years: I got recalled 18 months later and was thrown into Civil Affairs with the rest of the IRR kids.

I got out the second time in 2007. Over the last ten years it's been a journey back to myself that has only been possible because of a lot of great folks around me, too include my partner Makenzie and my daughter Wilder--and of course the team at Combat Flip Flops!

Everyday you've got to wake up and keep becoming. Being a veteran is something I am super proud of, but I won't let it be the only thing that defines me.

CFF: How did you get into contact with Griff and the team at Combat Flip Flops?
SB: We met at the Outdoor Retailer a few years back when, thanks to The North Face, we showed a short film that Conrad Anker helped us out on about a group of veterans in search if wild places in Glacier National Park.

Griff showed up at the event and it was a Bromance at first sight!

CFF: How do you de-stress?
SB: Outside. Climb, ski, or raft if I can--walk around the block with my little one mostly now though.

CFF: What do you consider the outdoors? Your therapist? Your best friend? Why?
SB: The outdoors is a lot of things, it's my church, my connection to the sacred and where I've helped to understand myself and who I can be in the world.

It is also the setting of the most of my healing and where I've found the community and family that mean so much to me now and keep me rising.

CFF: What was the most memorable hiking trip you've ever had?
SB: Hiking trip I'd say would be a rainy weekend in the Dolly Sods with my now wife Makenzie. It was just a really beautiful trip when it could have been miserable, but we had such an amazing time.

Overall outdoor expeditions though--without a doubt going back to ski in Iraq--and by the way, I'm a pretty bad skier.

CFF: Do you take out veterans out often for rock climbing, etc?
SB: I'm lucky enough that helping veterans connect to the outdoors is part of my job as the Director of Sierra Club Outdoors, but my work actually extends far beyond the military and veteran community.

I'm lucky enough to work with a really amazing group of folks that includes a number of veterans like Rob Vessels, Lornett Vestal, and Aaron Leonard among others, who are doing the day to day work to connect veterans to the outdoors.

We also work to help youth connect to the outdoors, support groups like Outdoor Afro, Latino Outdoors, Girl Trek, and others in training and support, as well as running some research about the power of the outdoors--one night out can lead to 27% or more reduction in post-traumatic stress symptoms--and a lot of lands conservation work. It's a pretty great job!

CFF: Any advice for those suffering from PTSD / self-medicating with alcohol / self-medicating with impulsive, self-destructive habits?
SB: Don't be afraid to ask for help. Give yourself and those around you some grace. Its ok that you're struggling, its ok that others don't know how to help, but if you want to change you have to be the first mover to make it happen.

Forgive yourself often and don't worry about being perfect--none of us are. I still struggle each day, but you've got to keep trying.

CFF: Please tell me a nickname that you currently hold / have held and why. 
SB: Most people call me Bare, but Broken Giraffe is a recent nick name given to me by Jeremy Jones a few years ago because of my unique skiing style.

CFF: Please send over one of your favorite quotations.
SB: “Words are made for a certain exactness of thought, as tears are for a certain degree of pain. What is least distinct cannot be named; what is clearest is unutterable.”
― Rene Daumal, A Night of Serious Drinking

That's it for today's #StokespersonSaturday! Stay tuned for next week's #Stokesperson.

Enlist in the #UnarmedForces today.