Climbing for a Cause: Nicholas and Nathaniel Miska’s Journey to Mount Kilimanjaro

Ever since they were children, brothers Nicholas and Nathaniel Miska had a deep respect for Veterans. When they saw a Veteran in their hometown in Ortonville, they would stop, shake hands, and thank them for their service.

Growing up in a community that held its National Guard unit in high regard, the brothers were inspired by the dedication and sacrifice of the men and women in uniform. In fact, that was a driving motivator to join the National Guard themselves after high school. Nicholas serves in the 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery out of Ortonville, Minn. and Nathaniel serves in 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion out of Litchfield, Minn.

This appreciation for service has recently inspired the Miska brothers to embark on a unique journey to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in support of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) of Minnesota. This is not just a physical challenge, but a testament to their deep respect and admiration for Veterans.

It all started with Nathaniel. After graduating basic training he had the opportunity to attend a specialized military school, and he chose Mountain Warfare School. Through that training he discovered a fascination with climbing – a hobby he also brought back home to his brother. Combining their passion for climbing, a love of the outdoors and a desire to support Veterans, the brothers had an idea: climb Mount Kilimanjaro and raise money for the DAV of Minnesota Outdoors Program.

Now, as Nicholas and Nathaniel prepare for this monumental feat, they are mindful of the challenges that lie ahead, particularly the dangers of altitude sickness. Their carefully planned ascent involves climbing 3,000 feet each day and then dropping back 1,000 feet to sleep, allowing their bodies to acclimate to the high altitude over the course of 7-8 days. The brothers leave for Tanzania in early June and are scheduled to summit by June 20.

For Nicholas, this journey to the summit of Kilimanjaro is a profound personal challenge. It’s a moment of reflection, a realization of how the values instilled in them as children have shaped their approach to adulthood and their commitment to Veterans’ causes.

Meanwhile, Nathaniel finds motivation in the dual purpose of their expedition: fulfilling their desire for adventure while raising funds and awareness for Veterans’ causes.

When Nicholas and Nathaniel stand at the foot of Kilimanjaro, they will carry with them the values of respect, integrity, and service that have guided them throughout their lives. With every step toward the summit, they intend to honor the veterans who have sacrificed so much for their country and embody the spirit of adventure that drives them forward.

The Miska brothers’ fundraising efforts have already made a significant impact. The Bellingham Legion Post 411, leading the charge, has donated $1,500 as the first-place supporter. They are also actively reaching out to their network, encouraging donations to the DAV, with checks specifically designated for the Kilimanjaro expedition. They are self-subsiding their climb, so all proceeds they raise will go back to the DAV of Minnesota Foundation. Their goal is to raise $19,340 (the height of Mount Kilimanjaro), and are currently at $4,707. Checks can be made out to DAV of Minnesota Foundation and mention Mount Kilimanjaro in the memo.  Mailing address is DAV of Minnesota Foundation, 20 West 12th Street, St. Paul, MN 55155. The DAV of Minnesota Foundation can be called to make a donation over the phone at 651-291-1212.