“WE MAY NOT KNOW THEM ALL, BUT WE OWE THEM ALL.”
Our mission at Over the Edge Outdoors (OTEO) is to provide Veterans and Active service members new and meaningful connections with other like-minded people. Using the healing power of nature and the great outdoors; we forge genuine and meaningful friendships between soldiers and veterans.
Once an individual leaves the service, it can at times be hard to keep those sacred connections we forged under fire. As an individual, we move back home, our buddies get transferred, or just the fact that we are out can distance us from people we once trusted our lives with. OTEO allows us to reform those close connections, and reform a kinship that most crave. Out in a deer blind, out on the lake slinging arrows, or just around the campfire after the hunt, nature brings healing that we all need.
All members of the OTEO board and staff are strictly volunteers. Every dollar donated goes to giving each soldier and veteran the trip of a lifetime.
Our organization was started in 2012, after our founder Chris Ellenburg realized there was a large need for programs and services geared towards helping Vets and Active Duty Members build bonds and relationships with each other after their service ends.
Towards the end of his enlistment, Chris participated in two separate Veteran Hunts through the Wounded Warrior Program. During these trips is when he came up with the idea for O.T.E.O. - he experienced a sense of camaraderie and community on these trips that he hadn’t thought possible outside of a military environment.
The bonds he created with other Vets during these trips helped to shape his post-military life, pulling him out of a dark place that almost had him becoming part of a statistic. In his own words, “If our organization can provide a place for Veterans to build new relationships and communities with each other after leaving the service, then our mission has been a success”.
Our Values can be summed up in one acronym: L.D.R.S.H.I.P.
We are 100% Loyal to our Wounded Warriors, our Veterans, our Active Duty Members, and our Organization’s Mission.
Our Duty is to help our Wounded Warriors, Veterans, and our Active Duty Members build lasting relationships with each other, easing their transition from Active Duty to Veteran, and giving them a community to rely on.
We make sure to treat our nation’s Greatest Heroes with Respect.
We gladly dedicate our time each month to spending weekend hunting and fishing trips with our Wounded Warriors, Veterans, and our Active Duty Members, allowing them to build support networks and communities with each other.
Honesty is one of the biggest keys to our success - by building honest trust between our Supporters, our Hunters, and our Sponsors, we are able to continue our mission to support all our troops.
We always do what’s right.
Our Hunters, who are all Wounded Warriors, Veterans, or Active Duty Members, have all shown an unimaginable amount of Courage during their time in the service
Meet our team
Chris Ellenburg is a North Georgia native, born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains. He joined the Army directly out of high school, and served until December 2012, when he left the military with one goal in mind: to continue serving his country, by supporting our Armed Forces.
This is how Over the Edge Outdoors was born. As someone who grew up surrounded by the outdoors, Chris took his passion for nature and turned it into a way for our service men and women to build relationships and communities with those who shared their experiences.
Joshua York was born in a small town in western New York. He moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 2000, and stayed there until he graduated high school in 2006, when he joined the Army as a 63B (wheeled mechanic).
Josh served in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment 4th Squadron for five years, with one deployment to Iraq from November 2007 to February 2009. Josh became involved with O.T.E.O. in 2018, after participating on a hunt and seeing first-hand the positive impact our program has had for our brothers and sisters. He was inspired to join our team as Treasurer, and also volunteers to lead hunts.
Doug Pleban was born in Virginia. He joined the army in 2006 and became a 68B wheeled vehicle mechanic. He has deployed 3 time, twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. He is married to his wife, Vanessa Pleban. Together they have 4 dogs, Lexi, Lacy, Lulu, and Dory.
He loves to be in the outdoors and receives great satisfaction when he is able to take out a veteran or soldier on a hunt that normally wouldn't be possible.
Salvador Vela is a 12-year Army UH-60 Blackhawk veteran, who’s spent the past 6 years at Fort Hood with the Air Cav. He’s been married for 14 years, and has three kids aged 16, 12, and 10. He also has four dogs: A great dane named Cali, a pug named bella, a hound named Dakota, and a bull mastiff named Mia.
He loves to hunt, fish, and just enjoy the outdoors in general, and is dedicated to giving back to his brothers and sisters in the armed forces.
MORE ABOUT WHAT WE DO
Interested in learning more about what we do? Take a look at the Services we offer, to both our active duty and veterans, as well as our community, or take a look at some of our upcoming trips and events.