Serviceman climbing Kilimanjaro to help wounded soldiers

Snoqualmie Valley resident Joe Crecca, a prisoner of war for six years in the Vietnam conflict, has never lost his admiration for the United States soldier.

For the past year, Crecca singlehandedly sent nearly 300 care packages to U.S. soldiers, Marines and pilots in the Middle East.

One of his recipients is Tom Bauschke, who served his most recent tour in Afghanistan. Bauschke is an Army medic predictably nicknamed "Doc" by all who know him.

Crecca sent seven boxes of hard-to-get items to Bauschke. With his second tour completed, Bauschke returned to the United States. He and Crecca had a chance to finally meet each other in Friday Harbor this week. Now, Bauschke will depart for Tanzania, where he plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He will hike the 68 miles and climb into the rarefied air at nearly 20,000 feet for the Wounded Warriors Project and will do so completely at his own expense.

The Wounded Warrior Project provides programs and services to severely injured service members during the time between active duty and transition to civilian life.

"By his actions, one can see that even though he is no longer in the combat zone, Tom still has very strong feelings for his fellow soldiers, especially those who were wounded," Crecca told the Record.

Crecca is seeking support for his efforts. To view Bauschke's climb Web page, visit

Alternatively, donations can be mailed to: Wounded Warrior Project, Attn: Melissa McArthur, 7020 A. C. Skinner Parkway, Suite 100, Jacksonville, FL 32256

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