FALLS CHURCH, Va., March 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mount Everest climbing season may be closed due to the coronavirus pandemic this year, but Capt. Harold Earls IV and his wife, Rachel Earls are reliving their untold personal story from the 2016 USX Veterans Expedition in “A Higher Calling” (WaterBrook, an imprint of Penguin Random House, June 2, 2020).
In the spring of 2016, West Point graduate, Harold led a first of what would be many veteran U.S. Expeditions and Explorations through his newly formed nonprofit, USX. The inaugural expedition was to summit Mount Everest with a mission to shed light on the stigma that centers on soldier post-traumatic stress disorder, while guiding veterans in their transition back to civilian life through challenging expeditions that inspire camaraderie and purpose. Harold developed the idea of USX while still a cadet in the U.S. Military Academy. His goal was to bring awareness to PTSD and create expeditions that mirror being part of a mission-oriented unit and team in combat.
“Our message during the USX expedition was that everyone has their own Everest to climb and we were showing how veterans could be bold and overcome PTSD by facing their fears and taking action again, but it wasn’t until we hit the summit that I had to apply my own mission to my marriage,” said Harold. “The climb was much more dangerous than I had anticipated and it took everything in me to survive and return home to my new wife, Rachel. There was a lot of prayer and a lot of soul searching that happened on that mountain that we never spoke about during the climb. The media was covering our summit and survival on Everest as soldiers, while simultaneously there was this entire other storyline of struggle happening with our families that no one knew about, and that’s what prompted me and Rachel to write this book to tell that story of the Everest that occurs in a lot of relationships.”
In “A Higher Calling” the Earls reveal details of their whirlwind romance and marriage that was prematurely faced with a life and death crisis during a dangerous Mount Everest summit.
“I knew Harold could easily die, leaving me a widow and childless. We went from being inseparable to millions of miles apart with no reliable way to communicate. The Mount Everest expedition was supposed to be a positive mission for the world, but for us it was a terrifying reality to live through. It changed us,” said Rachel, whose highly ranked YouTube vlog and collective social media following with Harold about their life draws more than 1.1 million followers. “It’s true what they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I think about that even now as our country, Nepal and the entire world is faced with what seems to be an impossible mountain to climb called COVID-19. I truly believe that no matter the crisis someone is facing in any relationship, be it health, financial or forced separation, it can be conquered. Through Mount Everest we found a higher calling and that’s our message of hope to others who are struggling to believe that there is a light at the end of any dark season or crisis.”
The Earls say the journey to Mount Everest taught them more about their own relationship. Through their story readers discover the value of appreciating and supporting individual dreams and goals in a relationship, focusing energy on serving versus gaining through a crisis, and how to live a life of gratitude and love in any stressful situation or hardship.
“I’m embarrassed to say how easily I took Rachel for granted. My time was occupied by so many other things, not the most important thing, which was my relationship with Rachel,” said Harold. “Much like myself, I think people are always consumed with what they don’t have instead of what they do have. My literal Everest experience taught me to have gratitude for the good in my life and not to take relationships for granted. For anyone facing an Everest situation right now, this is an important message to hear.”
Proceeds from “A Higher Calling” are being designated to local communities in the United States affected by COVID-19 and to support the families of Nepal affected by the Mount Everest closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most Nepalese mountain guides make their entire year’s wage during the Mount Everest climbing season. To learn more and order the book visit: https://www.earls.org.
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