This week’s episode of Borne the Battle features Texas Army National Guard Veteran Cindy McNally and Marine Corps Veteran Nate McDonald, the president and vice president of Irreverent Warriors. McNally and McDonald discuss Irreverent Warriors’ mission to improve mental health and prevent Veteran suicide worldwide by providing a space to build camaraderie at their Silkie Hike events.

McNally is the CEO and president of Irreverent Warriors. She and her family suffered the tragic and unexpected loss of her husband and Marine Corps Veteran, Rand, who took his own life after years of internal struggle. McNally has three children, two of whom followed their parents’ paths to military careers.

McDonald is the COO and vice president of Irreverent Warriors. He served as an intelligence operative for Special Projects, often jumping from team to team and deploying with a variety of units. Because he suffered multiple TBIs during his service, he chose to leave the military when his ability to perform in the field came into question.

McDonald then worked as a consultant with various US government and military organizations. He lost many comrades due to mental health issues, so when the opportunity to help arose, he joined Irreverent Warriors to positively impact the lives of other service men and women.

One of the greatest contributors to Veteran suicide is isolation, something that Irreverent Warriors seeks to combat by bringing Veterans together. Camaraderie is vital to soldiers during their service, and Irreverent Warriors aims to build it in the Veteran community. The Silkie Hikes are only open to Veterans and active-duty service members and happen across the country. This year, the organization is expanding internationally to recognize that Veteran suicide is not unique to the United States but is a worldwide issue.

McNally and McDonald discuss how they found and joined the organization, gained their leadership roles, ways in which VA can help to combat Veteran suicide, and the stunning impact of Irreverent Warriors on Veterans across the nation.


Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

Mentioned in this episode:


Jana Jenkins is a podcast intern with the VA’s Digital Media Engagement Team. She is an undergraduate student at the College of Saint Benedict studying Communication.

Subscribe and Listen on Your Favorite Podcatcher

Borne the Battle - Listen on Spotify

Google Podcasts Badge

Share this story

Published on Jun. 21, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.5 min.

Views to date: 302

2 Comments

  1. David Steppe July 9, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    I have a story and woulf like to share it with you all in due time.

  2. Michael Blankers July 1, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    Listening to Cindy McNally talk about suicide, I immediately go to the “tag line” of it (Suicide) being referred to as a ‘PERMANENT solution to a TEMPORARY situation’

    I have had the pleasure of meeting Cindy in person at the O.P. Veteran sponsored VetVest 2016 in Austin, TX, and can attest to her presenting one of the most POSITIVE vibes I have been around. You would never know the personal pain and suffering she has gone through..

    We all have a story, and some are more interesting than others. Both stories shared on this Podcast exemplify that.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • Socks are the most requested clothing item at homeless shelters. Here’s how an annual partnership is filling that need.

  • VA and the FCC are helping Veterans with qualifying VA pensions access the internet for video telehealth visits.

  • Native Americans serve in the military in numbers far higher than their proportion of the U.S. population. They've served with distinction in every major conflict for over 200 years. To honor their legacy of service and their culture, the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) works with tribes to honor their service and heritage, working together to build and maintain tribal Veterans cemeteries—cemeteries built and maintained by tribes with support from VA.