Vail firefighters will clean up Kilimanjaro |

Vail firefighters will clean up Kilimanjaro

Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyVail firefighters, from left, Bryan Cash, Mike Orin and Ryan Sutter, show two bags of the kinds of medical supplies they are hoping to have donated to take with them to villagers in Kenya.

VAIL, Colorado ” Bryan Cash, Mike Orin and Ryan Sutter have done some fun things for a good cause.

The three Vail firefighters have run the Denver Marathon, and they’ve run the Colorado Outward Bound Relay (a day-and-night relay race) both to benefit charities.

Now their eyes are set on a more global way to help. They are going on a three-week trip to Kenya with some lofty plans.

First, they plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the 19,000-foot peak that’s the tallest mountain in Africa. But not just climb it ” they plan to haul down as much of the trash that litters the mountain as they can.

“From what we read, it’s pretty abundant,” Cash said.

Sutter said he was struck by the amount of trash he saw when he climbed Mount Aconcagua in South America last year.

“You notice a lot of environmental degradation,” he said. “Things you wish you could clean up.”

Hopefully, the trip can highlight the shrinking snows of Kilimanjaro and the effects of global warming, Sutter said.

The second part of the trip will be working with people in the village of Meru to teach fire safety and treat burns. In the impoverished area, many people still cook on open flames, and fire-related deaths and injuries are prevalent.

Lastly, they’ll spend a couple of days with Wangari Maathai, a Nobel Prize-winning Kenyan woman who has led efforts to plant over 30 million trees in Kenya to prevent soil erosion.

The Vail firefighters will plant a minimum of 15 trees to offset the carbon footprint of their trip. They see it as a gesture that looks to the future.

“It adds this ‘hope’ aspect to the trip,” Sutter said.

The trip will cost about $4,200 per person, and the firefighters are seeking donations to help offset that cost. The trip is being made in conjunction with YouthLINC, a Utah-based group that works with young volunteers in an effort to shape lifetime humanitarians. The three Vail firefighters will be working with young YouthLINC volunteers in Kenya.

The Vail trio hopes other Vail firefighters can go on similar journeys in coming years.

“We’re laying the groundwork for future trips,” Orin said.

And regardless of all the volunteer work they are doing, the trip is going to be an amazing chance to experience a different part of the world, they said.

“This is a great opportunity to incorporate an awesome trip and do a handful of good things,” Cash said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or

Go to or call Mike Orin at 714-473-0677.

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