Each year, National Geographic names an “Explorer of the Year,” and for the first time ever, YOU get to decide!  We highly recommend Marc Hoffmeister, a U.S. Army veteran and leader of Operation Denali.

[caption id=“attachment_757” align=“alignright” width=“253” caption=“Army Lt. Col. Marc Hoffmeister is among four wounded warriors who are attempting to summit Alaska’s Mount McKinley, also known as Denali, the highest point in North America, June 1, 2009. U.S. Army photo”][/caption]

From his profile in National Geographic: “On June 1, 2009, a team of five men and one woman flew in to the Kahiltna Glacier at the base of Denali. Besides Marc and Gayle Hoffmeister and a longtime able-bodied friend of Marc’s, Bob Haines, the party included three other Iraq veterans: Jon Kuniholm, an ex-Marine who’d lost an arm to an IED; Matt Nyman, an Army Ranger whose leg had to be amputated after his chopper was shot down; and David Shebib, an Army combat medic who’d suffered severe head and chest injuries after stepping on an IED.”

Hoffmeister’s courage and bravery - combined with a can-do spirit and sense of adventure - make him the perfect candidate for Explorer of the Year!  He has this to say about the experience, “We are thrilled to be honored among an amazing group of people.  The only disappointment of this recognition is that it is an individual award. I truly feel this is and should be a team recognition.  Every member of our team poured their heart and soul in to the effort.  They made it happen and their inspirational example continues to impact wounded warrior’s like us every day.”

Click here to vote for Hoffmeister in the Reader’s Choice Poll and watch a video Operation Denali below!  Winners will be announced later on this year.