Jody Wilbanks

Jody WilbanksJody was born and raised in Central, South Carolina. He spent the majority of his adult life serving as a member of the United States Navy. He served 17 years of his 24-year career overseas and in his own words, "has had a very adventurous and rewarding career serving our great nation." Jody retired from active duty in September 2010 and found his next calling serving as a member of the South Carolina Park Services. He volunteered as the hike leader for the inaugural Trailblaze Challenge and ultimately, he fell in love with the wish granting and now proudly and passionately is a full-time member of the Make-A-Wish team.
As an off-duty stress relief he originally found a passion for running a variety of road races to include training for the Disney World® Marathon with the American Leukemia Society and then gradually found himself being pulled toward the multi-discipline facet of triathlons and off-road challenge races. It didn’t take long to discover his overseas locations offered him the rare opportunity to participate in the world of extreme adventure racing and as such he has participated in numerous such events to include his personal favorite, the 24-hour Guam Extreme Adventure Race (G.E.A.R.).
Coupled with the need of his specialized military units to maintain the highest physical standards of which he served as the overall physical fitness coordinator and his need to drive his off-duty Adventure Race team members to their highest level of performance, Jody found a personal fascination with the ability to achieve maximum performances utilizing a balance of personal nutrition, hydration and training. Among some of his strongest personal beliefs is the fact that everyone can exceed the boundaries of which the mind has set by this basic balancing act. "The body can achieve what the mind believes!"

Jody additionally served as a member of the State Parks Search and Rescue team and has successfully completed numerous mountain-side rescues. He is an avid hiker and takes pride in having served as a key member of the Mountain Bridge Trail Crew to help maintain and upgrade our local trails. He is certified in Wilderness First Aid to include CPR and AED. He is motivated by, and dedicated to, this great event and the cause of which it supports - Make-A-Wish® South Carolina and looks forward to serving you as one of your Trailblaze Challenge Coordinators.

Michelle Owens

Michelle OwensTrailblaze Challenge Alum: Inaugural Hike Spring 2015

Michelle grew up in Simpsonville where her parents could not keep her inside or out of the woods. Michelle collage now resides in Travelers Rest, South Carolina and has a love for everything outdoors and wild. Her favorite activities include hiking, backpacking, trail running, snow skiing, and scuba diving. Her wanderlust for adventure travel has taken her to some amazing places so far including: the Mt Everest region of Nepal, Southern Patagonia, and the Galapagos. However, she feels her biggest wilderness accomplishment to date was experienced right here in the mountains of South Carolina where she recently completed a solo 40-mile day hike on her 40th birthday. Ultimately, Michelle learned how powerful a wish can be and now proudly and passionately is a member of the Make-A-Wish team.

In addition to Michelle’s passion for the trails, she has a solid faith-based belief in the Pay it Forward concept. She was very excited to combine these desires by participating in the inaugural SC Trailblazer Challenge and is looking forward to "paying it forward" once again, helping others experience the same incredible rewards. If asked what single most important trait she believes contributes to succeeding a difficult challenge of any kind, whether goal-raising or high-mileage hiking…. Determination. "I’ve been called stubborn more than just once in my lifetime." Michelle is a Trailblaze Challenge Alumni and is a seasoned hike leader. She is certified in Wilderness First Aid to include CPR and AED. She is also motivated by, and dedicated to, this great event and the cause of which it supports - Make-A-Wish® South Carolina and looks forward to serving you as one of your Trailblaze Challenge Coordinators.

 

You can contact Jody and Michelle at outdooradventures@sc.wish.org.

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