Meet our Molly's Military Family Member: Adam Kisielewski
Adam Kisielewski, originally hailing from Wisconsin, has called the DC area his home since 2003. His journey led him through a distinguished career in the Marine Corps, from which he retired in 2006 due to injuries sustained during deployment in Iraq, resulting in the loss of his right leg and left arm. Following a remarkable recovery, Adam initially ventured into the world of defense contracting. However, he soon uncovered his true passion for nonprofit work. Armed with an undergraduate degree from Saint Mary's and a graduate degree from Georgetown, he embarked on a new chapter, dedicating his efforts to the organization No Person Left Behind (NPLB) Outdoors. In our conversation with Adam, we delved into his profound commitment to this organization and his deep love for the community.
Can you describe the mission and history of NPLB?
Founded in 2004 by Mark Hoke and Cody Kittleman, both experienced hunting and fishing guides, the organization initially focused solely on hunting and fishing. Over time, it expanded its scope to encompass a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, swimming, mountaineering, motor sports, aviation, and many more. NPLB Outdoors builds lasting relationships with those directly impacted by combat during our nation’s armed conflicts, regardless of era, in order to promote positive outcomes and lifelong successes.
How did the organization learn how to accommodate injured veterans?
Every activity is tailored to each veteran based on their individual interests and the nature of their injuries. Our goal is to identify their passions and provide support in a manner that's both safe and comfortable for them. This aligns with the core mission of the organization, which is to empower these veterans to surmount any challenges they may face, despite their injuries. Certain activities may require special adaptations, specialized equipment, or collaboration with able-bodied volunteers.
Since your time with the organization, what are some of your favorite memories?
There are so many activities that we have hosted over the years. The longest running one is the Annual LT Marvin Dorsey/SoCo Deer Hunt, as we are going on our 18th year of hosting that event. . It remains one of our most cherished and memorable events. Earlier this year, I was fortunate to lead a team of amputee veterans up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. We’ve had the opportunity to go jet skiing in Alaska, dodging ice Burges and rolling up the glaciers. On Maryland Eastern Shore we’ve taken huskies onto bush planes. Each of these experiences is etched in my heart, but what truly makes them extraordinary are the remarkable veterans we meet and the stories they share.
How has NPLB inspired you too keep going in your own story?
I have been very fortunate in my recovery that the people who have looked after me during that time and helped me get to where I am today. At a certain point, there comes a moral obligation to pay it forward. The most fulfilling and rewarding experience for me has been my involvement with this organization, which has provided me a way to give back. When I initially joined, I didn't anticipate that I would gain more from it than I could ever have imagined. Every day, I have the privilege of working with truly remarkable groups of people, making it an experience that continually surpasses my expectations.
Finally, how did your relationship with Molly’s Place begin?
Our founder, Mark Hoke, and one of our board members, Kenny Gray, shared a close relationship with Nick and Chikki Shajwani, the owners of Molly's. At one point, Chikki even served as one of our board members. Having the privilege to collaborate with a Sporting Goods store as reputable as Molly's has played a pivotal role in our growth. While we've had the opportunity to work with several people in the industry, Molly's Place has consistently remained one of our most cherished corporate partners.
If you're interested in learning more or becoming a volunteer of NPLB outdoors below are links for their website and social media to find out more.