Going from the valley to the mountaintop

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Five men from Champaign and Urbana climbed the highest mountain peak in the lower 48, and they did it for a good cause. 

Les Cotton, Michael Savage, Shawn Shoemaker, Roy Lane, and Kenneth Pride traveled cross country and took on the climb for Lifeline Connect. It’s a year long drug addiction recover program and these men say it works.

This climb was a way to raise money to expand Lifeline and help more men live life beyond their addictions. 

“It did challenge me just like getting recovery in my life. One foot in front of the other.” 

5 men, 2 days and 22 miles to the top and back of Mount Whitney.

“To climb out of the valley and make it to the mountaintop of recovery.” 

It’s said that every man has a mountain he must climb. But for them the biggest is one you can’t see. 

“When I got to the mountain it was just so full of life and so vibrant and everything was flourishing and that reminded me of my life of recovery.” 

Les Cotton and Michael Savage say they owe their recovery to a program called Lifeline Connect. 

“I was fresh out of prison. Nobody believed in me. I was homeless and living on the streets. And these people took me in and showed me the way.” 

In the past 10 years Lifeline has helped 70 men end their addictions through their year long program. It gives men a safe place to call home. But they can only take in six men per year and that’s why these men made the climb. 

“I’m doing this to raise money to help other men and their families in the future to build this new dorm.” 

If they raise enough money to build it, the new dorm in Urbana will open the program up to hold 24 more people. 

“It gives me future and a hope and to give back to to other guys is my passion. And it’s the thing that keeps me going in life is to give back to the program.”

Lifeline saved them. 

“You actually become a whole person and you’re able to experience life not guarded, not jaded not cynical. But to be whole and experience joy and peace.” 

The lowest time in their lives was during addiction. Climbing the mountain was like coming out on top of their struggles, and they want to help other men do the same thing. 

An anonymous donor paired up with Lifeline and created a matching fund to raise money. All donations to their new dorm project will be matched up to $33,000. The project will cost $630,000. So far, they’ve raised over $57,000 of that. If you want to donate, click on the link to their website lifelineconnect.org

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