Sgt. Mike Geib has been out of the military for nearly 25 years. He spent 10 years in the Army and served in the first Gulf War.
He still feels the effects of combat.
“I’ve got respiratory issues,” he said, “I have internal issues, chronic weakness, chronic fatigue.”
He also has PTSD. His service dog, Cookie Dough, helps a lot, but there’s one thing that really brings him comfort.
“I’m just at peace sitting in the woods,” Geib said, “I can spend a whole day sitting in a tree stand or sitting beside a lake fishing.”
Unfortunately, Geib can’t spend as much time outdoors as he would like.
Fifteen-year-old Katie Hoster heard Geib’s story from her former teacher on Veterans Day and wanted to help.
“He needs an Action Trackchair because he wants to go out and hunt and do what he loves to do,” she said, “but with his disabilities, his family could be nervous about him going out, so I wanted to help him regain that part of his life back.”
Hoster decided to combine her two passions.
“I wanted to put performing arts and helping somebody else into one, so I came up with the benefit concert idea,” she said.
Hoster’s been doing fundraisers for months to reach her goal. The chair costs over $13,000. She’s only $4,000 away.
“I did not know what I was getting myself into,” she said, “I was a little worried. What if people don’t donate? But everyone’s been really supportive and I’m very, very happy.”
Geib is very thankful.
“The chair’s going to allow me to get out more often, rather than sitting in the house being depressed,” he said.
Geib is especially impressed with the sophomore who’s gone above and beyond to help someone she doesn’t even know.
“It does give me hope,” he said, “It’s unprecedented what she’s doing. Fifteen-year-old kids don’t typically worry about a 52-year-old man. Here’s this wonderful young lady doing all this great stuff for me, and I still don’t know why, really.”
For Hoster, the answer is simple.
“He’s done something for me like keeping my freedom, so I can definitely give back,” she said.
The Operation Outdoors benefit concert is Sunday, April 29 at 2 p.m. at Southwestern High School in Hanover. Katie will sing the national anthem.
Tickets are $5 in advance and $6 at the door.
For more information, call 717-421-9478.