“This hero put his life on the line by becoming the first American to swim the Mississippi River in order to raise awareness for our nation's families who have lost loved ones in the armed forces. ”
Chris Ring grew up in a small town in Tennessee and upon graduating high school, spent the next 10 years of his life serving our nation valorously as a Navy SEAL. After multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Chris decided that his selfless service was all but over. He partnered with Legacies Alive, a 501c3 non-profit that uses extreme challenges to raise awareness and funding to support our nation's fallen service members and their surviving Gold Star Families. Chris was inspired by the co-founder of Legacies Alive, Mike Viti who launched the group's first Legacy Challenge, Mike's Hiking For Heroes, by walking over 4,400km around the U.S. in 2014. Chris decided he wanted to be next and he pitched his Legacy Challenge idea, to swim the Mighty Mississippi River and as the saying goes, the rest was history, literally.
On June 6th, 2015 at Lake Itasca, MN, Chris Ring set out on "The Swim For Their Sacrifice", a daunting task that would capture the hearts of thousands of Americans, but most importantly hundreds of Gold Star Family members, many of whom he met along the way. Over the next 6 months, Chris swam 6-8 hours a day, 6 days a week, covering 10-20 miles a day. During his adventure, Chris lost 30 lbs, swam through several wetsuits, endured shoulder separations, yet he never lost sight of the reason why he decided to take on such a difficult endeavor. Chris adjusted his daily schedule to fit in time to meet with Gold Star Families along the route, taking time to hug them and learn about their loved ones who had paid the ultimate sacrifice. During those visits he would invite the families to sign the kayak which escorted Chris every day as he swam. In addition to the extreme physical demand of swimming so many miles on a daily basis, Chris also fought through the mental and emotional challenges of meeting all of the families and hearing their stories, but make no mistake this war hero did it with the utmost dignity.
On December, 4th 2015 - 181 days, 10 U.S. states, and 2,350 miles later, Chris reached mile marker 0 at the Head of Passes, L.A. culminating the historic "Swim For Their Sacrifice" as he became the 1st American to ever swim the entire length of the Mississippi River. You see, I am an Afghanistan Veteran and a Gold Star Brother who followed Chris every stroke of the way. He inspired me and had such a profound impact on my parents that they drove over 24 hours round trip to see him finish, shake his hand and thank him for putting his life on the line for such a noble cause. Indeed, this selfless patriot put his life on the line again, not for fame or self-promotion, but instead to continue serving by joining Legacies Alive and their mission to strengthen and support Gold Star Families. That is what makes Chris Ring the living embodiment of who Leads a Rare Life!
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