Summit Saints Director of Spiritual Services, Joseph Naumann, conducts an outdoor memorial service.
Courtesy photo

FRISCO – A little over two years ago, Sam Patrick, founder of Summit Saints, lost a close friend to an untimely death. After struggling with loss for some time, Patrick decided to climb Mount Williamson in honor of his deceased loved one. Patrick described the experience as a weight lifted from his shoulders as he felt a sense of closure.

“I haven’t even made it off the mountain yet and I’m like, ‘Wow, I bet a lot of people don’t know this exists. I bet a lot of people don’t know that you can achieve such a clear sense of closure by exercising physically and being in nature, and doing it with the right reasons and intentions, ”said Patrick.

Coming down the mountain, Patrick came up with the idea for Summit Saints, an ash-spreading and memorial service business. He wanted to provide people with a similar healing experience by going out into nature to commemorate their loved ones. Patrick had a background in environmental health and safety and wilderness therapy, and he enlisted his friend Joseph Naumann, whom he met while serving in the US Air Force. Naumann had more of an entrepreneurial background, making the two a perfect pair.

“When he brought up this idea, I thought it was an amazing way to reimagine what memorial services and funerals are and structure it around therapy and the connection families can make with that kind of thing. ‘activity as opposed to more traditional funerals, ”Naumann said.

Summit Saints also has a third partner, Jake Rohrer, who serves as the team’s safety professional.

While some may choose to take the route Patrick took by simply dedicating a hike to a deceased loved one, Patrick explained that Summit Saints’ goal is to shut down family as much as possible. The family are able to attend the memorial rather than worrying about the details of the hike and the ash-scattering ceremony, which can be difficult to plan and coordinate when someone is in mourning.

Patrick is also an ordained minister, and he and Naumann tailor the experience to families’ wishes by researching the location in advance.

Although Patrick and Naumann’s work is emotionally taxing, they both expressed the deep sense of purpose they receive through their work.

“This woman, I didn’t really see the effects on her right after she scattered her brother’s ashes, but she spoke to me a few weeks later, and she told me that she prayed for Summit Saints every day to be successful, and it really hit me. This is the biggest thank you I could ever get, “said Patrick.

Naumann recalled Summit Saints’ first client, LaTonya Whitt, and how his experience helping her made him even more confident of his role on Summit Saints.

“I didn’t know what kind of impact it would have. LaTonya was our first visit to Las Vegas, and she was incredibly grateful, and we could just say how much that meant to her and to her friends that she had brought with her. Not that I wasn’t already convinced to pursue him, but it was a truly rewarding experience to be able to help someone in this way, ”said Naumann.

Whitt made similar comments about his experience with Summit Saints.

“My brother wanted to be cremated, and I was praying for a way to honor him and do something with his ashes that would be unique,” ​​Whitt said. “For me, it definitely brought a lot of closure. I had great peace thereafter.

Whitt continues to stay in touch with Patrick and Naumann, and she said she felt connected with them after going through such an emotional process together.

“No matter what someone is going through – it could be death, it could be depression, addiction, whatever – just get out, and that’s where your peace is. Solitude in nature is where peace can be found if someone is looking for it, ”said Patrick.



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