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A-10 pilots climb with courageous kids

A child wears a helmet belonging to a fighter pilot from the 190th Fighter Squadron during the Courageous Kids Climbing event at the YMCA, Boise, Idaho, Sept. 9, 2018.

A child wears a helmet belonging to a fighter pilot from the 190th Fighter Squadron during the Courageous Kids Climbing event at the YMCA, Boise, Idaho, Sept. 9, 2018. Courageous Kids Climbing was established in 2014 as a way for children and adults with development challenges to experience rock climbing while interacting with men and women in uniform. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor K. Walker)

BOISE, Idaho --

Members of the 124th Fighter Wing here joined children at a Courageous Kids Climbing event Sept. 9 at the Treasure Valley YMCA, Boise, Idaho.

Courageous Kids Climbing is an organization created as a way for children and adults with developmental challenges to experience rock climbing while interacting with men and women in uniform.

Capt. Michael D. Binford and Capt. John A. Driebergen, pilots from the 190th Fighter Squadron here, attended the event in their flight suits, drawing excited attention from young children who were eager to hear about planes and try on a real fighter pilot’s helmet.

The purpose of Courageous Kids Climbing is two-fold, said founder Jeffrey A. Riechmann. Not only does it give participants the opportunity to explore a new, vertical perspective they wouldn’t normally experience, but it also fosters relationships with first responders and military members.

According to a 2017 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over 20% of crimes against people with disabilities weren’t reported because the victim did not think the police would help.

Riechmann said programs like Courageous Kids Climbing is a way for first responders and all uniformed members to break barriers and develop trust with those who have physical or developmental disabilities.

Courageous Kids Climbing began in 2014 and has since hosted free climbing events for over 450 participants