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Secretary of Defense James Mattis to Keynote Higher Ground’s Hero’s Journey
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta took time to talk with those attending the Hero’s Journey Gala Dinner and Auction a few years ago.
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Monday, July 5, 2021


Higher Ground will cap the long Fourth of July weekend with two patriotic and inspiring presentations at its 10th annual Hero’s Journey Gala.

The nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic recreation to veterans from across the country will host former Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis as its keynote speaker at its Higher Ground Hero’s Journey fundraising dinner and auction on Tuesday, July 6, at Flower’s Mill in Ketchum’s backyard. Mattis had been scheduled to headline Hero’s Journey last year, but it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Because of COVID, the gala seating is limited to less than half its normal size. So, Higher Ground is  providing a second option—an outdoor picnic in Golden Eagle. The evening’s program will be  livestreamed to a Jumbotron there.

The picnic will be hosted by ESPN Analyst Jim Mora, a former NFL coach who now lives in the Sun Valley area. Mark Pattison, a former NFL player who just summited Mount Everest, will speak about his Seven Summits journey and his connect to Higher Ground.

The goal of the Hero’s Journey is to celebrate America’s heroes and raise funds for Higher Ground’s programs. Higher Ground provides adaptive skiing and summer camps to local children and adults with disabilities, as well as the veterans.

Its Hero’s Journey has attracted world-renowned speakers, including Dr. Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Gen. (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal and former U.S. Secretary of Defense, CIA Director and White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta.

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