One student’s uphill climb: Hike4Heroes, topping New York’s 46 peaks to benefit the military


By Dean Constant

This past summer, Ben Bucinell ‘14 took on a tall effort: climbing the 46 peaks of New York’s Adirondacks Mountains as part of his own fundraiser, Hike4Heroes. The fundraiser, created by Bucinell, benefits both the Wounded Warrior Project and the Navy Seal Foundation.

Bucinell said that while he has always had a love for hiking, having hiked since he was a child with both family and the boy scouts, he organized the fundraiser as a way to give back to the men and women who serve in the military.

“We often take for granted the personal freedoms and liberties that service members fighting allow us all to have,” said Bucinell. “I believed that by having people pledge a certain amount for each peak I climbed, we could all give back to those brave men and women who serve our country.”

Already having climbed 29 peaks, Bucinell said that he plans to have climbed all 46 by Dec. 1. These hikes vary in length, the longest being 26 miles in one day. Bucinell added that they could sometimes take as long as eight to 13 hours to complete. Bucinell stated that the biggest obstacle that lies ahead is the weather.

“Without a doubt the most challenging part of my journey will be to complete the hikes in more severe conditions like ice and snow,” said Bucinell.  “At the end of the day it feels like such a small price to pay to help our country’s military.”

According to Bucinell, the fundraiser has been not only physically taxing but mentally challenging.  He declared that although the time commitment makes it challenging to manage both academics and his fundraiser, the fundraiser itself has been intrinsically rewarding.

Bucinell said that to this the most surprising aspect of his fundraiser has not been the difficulty of the hikes themselves, but rather the overwhelming support he has seen from the Greek Life community.

A brother of Union’s Chi Psi chapter, Bucinell said that Greek Life has been integral to the success of his fundraiser.

“When I started the fundraiser, I hoped that my fraternity would be able to help spread the word, and they have both here and through our national office,” stated Bucinell.  “I was delighted to see that not only has my fraternity supported me, but the overall Greek Life community at Union has come together to get involved in the fundraiser.  Without their assistance, it is unlikely that I would have been able to set this up.”

One fraternity member helping Bucinell’s fundraiser is recent Union alumnus Peter Mugford ‘11, who has been sponsoring him with equipment.  According to Bucinell, Mugford, a successful entrepreneur and owner of both The Sail Loft and Custom Universe Inc., has been able to provide him with equipment that will be essential as the weather and conditions become more extreme.

For those interested in contributing to Hike4Heroes, they can visit the website created by his brother Ryan Bucinell.  For more information about where the proceeds will be going, you can access the websites for the Wounded Warrior Project and the Navy Seal Foundation.


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