Bayley Bischof, 10/11 NOW, KOLN-TV —
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Five Nebraska state senators from across the state, and party lines, summited Mount Kilimanjaro and are now sharing stories from the hike.
The senators said it’s one of the hardest things they’ve ever done, but followed the lead of Senator Tom Brewer, who sparked the idea, and is climbing through cancer.
10/11 NOW caught up with the Senators over Zoom. They’re still in Africa, about to do some sightseeing after their seven-day hike up Mount Kilimanjaro.
After climbing to nearly 20,000 feet, five Nebraska Senators are back on even ground in Africa.
“Seeing the top of the roof of Africa was a memory I’ll never forget I don’t think any of us will,” said Senator Ben Hansen.
Senators Tom Brewer, Ben Hansen, Justin Wayne, Anna Wishart and David Murman hiked Africa’s tallest mountains over seven days.
“It was probably the hardest seven days of my life,” said Murman.
The charge, lead by Senator Brewer, who motivated them when the crew wanted to turn back.
“I don’t think any of us would be here if it wasn’t for Senator Brewer,” said Wishart.
“How can I quit when he’s still walking,” said Murman.
Brewer is currently going through cancer treatment, but was undeterred.
“The idea of having chemo before you go and do something like this,” said Brewer. “I don’t recommend three major surgeries and chemo, it’s been a tough year.”
But all five said it was worth the pain.
“Making it to the top and looking over there and out above the clouds at Africa is breath taking,” said Wayne. “It gives a sense of pride but reminds you how much further we have to go.”
It also taught them lessons they’ll take back to the legislative chamber.
“Moving forward this is how politics should work when you have diversity of thought coming together and working on something challenging,” said Wishart. “That’s when the magic happens.”
A documentary crew did follow them. A 30-minute special on their trip should be out by the spring. Many of the senators have also shared photos on their Facebook pages.
The senators said they saved up and spent their own money on the trip. It was not funded by the state.