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Veteran brings Irreverent Warriors hike to Las Vegas

'I’ve lost way too many friends to their demons'
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Posted at 7:25 AM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 21:03:31-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The transition from military life to civilian life can be a struggle for many veterans. When that struggle gets mixed in with isolation caused by the pandemic, it could affect their mental health.

Yonel Dorelis is hoping to help veterans dealing with this by getting them outdoors.

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“One thing we always talk about is missing the camaraderie,” Yonel said.

“They found that it helped bring people out of the dark places. Some of the dark rabbit holes people tend to get into.”

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Irreverent Warriors is a national organization connecting servicemen and women through hiking with the overall goal of preventing veteran suicide.

Yonel was overwhelmed after attending his first hike in New York and decided to bring the hike to Las Vegas in hopes of helping other veterans.

“I’ve lost way too many friends to their demons," said Dorelis.

"Mostly, people I thought were better than me in every way," he added. "Better pilots, braver, guys I looked up to in combat. It’s heartbreaking."

This is the first of many hikes Yonel plans to put on in hopes of giving veterans an outlet to know they’re not alone.

“It’s just the fight, I can fight,” Yonel said.

“I just think people who've served their country, who were willing to put their life on the line for their country, and have done so deserve a good life.”

Yonel served 28 years in four different military branches and was a pilot in three different branches.

To learn more about Irreverent Warriors visit IrreverentWarriors.com.

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