Blind Military Veteran. Extreme Adventure Athlete. Motivational Speaker. Author.
Lonnie’s mission is to motivate and inspire others to embrace life with confidence and courage. He accomplishes this by the way he lives his life and sharing his story with others. He’s an advocate for many including the blind and our military veterans, and is living proof that we can define ourselves on our own terms.
A former Navy Petty Officer, Lonnie was critically injured during 1997 in a hunting accident that instantly took his sight. Nevertheless, he raised three daughters as a single father, teaching them all to hunt and fish — and, against all odds, to drive. Once the girls graduated from high school, Lonnie continued to challenge himself, ultimately becoming a renowned extreme sports athlete. When the threshold for running the Grand Canyon was placed at 1,000 kayak rolls, he took his donated kayak to the pond on his farm and rolled it 1,500 times. The rest is history.
Lonnie has kayaked some of the most challenging whitewater in the world and is best known for having completed the first blind descent of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. He climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, summited several of North America’s highest mountains, rock climbs, and is an avid downhill skier when he has time away from roofing work in his hometown of Duggar, IN.