It takes a dedicated team to reach our summits

Blind Endeavors started out as a dream and has grown into what it is today because of those that believe in this dream…

Board Members

President / Founder

Steve Baskis

Specialist Steven C. Baskis successfully completed Infantry training at Fort Benning, Georgia in 2007 and went on to deploy with the U.S. Army’s distinguished 4th Infantry Division, a unit that crossed the Normandy beaches in World War II. While serving as a Personal Security Specialist in 2008, Baskis was severely wounded by an improvised explosive device during military operations in Baghdad, Iraq. May 13th, 2008 marked the day in which Baskis lost his sight and suffered multiple shrapnel injuries to the head, neck, arms and legs which resulted in significant blood loss, hearing loss, loss of smell and nerve damage to left arm. Steve explains how this traumatic experience has forever changed his sight and vision. “I may have lost my physical ability to see, but I have a new vision, a new perspective to guide me through life and all of it’s amazing challenges.

After war and debilitating injuries, Steve has gone on to climb 2 of the 7 tallest mountains in the world which include Mount Elbrus in Europe and Kilimanjaro in Africa. A documentary titled “High Ground”, captures Steve and 11 veterans’ amazing journey to climb a 20,000 foot Himalayan peak, Lobuche, which sits in the shadow of Mount Everest. Another documentary Steve had the opportunity to be featured in is “On Me”. The film follows five completely blind veterans down a stretch of white water river rapids in Montana. Baskis has found a love for adventure and physical challenge. Actively pursuing half marathons, a half ironman, cycling nearly 800 miles from the capital of Canada to the capital of The United States, snow skiing down cold mountains in Colorado and white water kayaking down the Yellowstone river, are just a few of Steve’s thrilling adventures.

“I now want to give back to the people who have helped me, by starting a foundation called Blind Endeavors”, Steve says. The Blind Endeavors Foundation’s main purpose will center around educating, conducting research and making more people aware of what is possible, no matter the level of adversity faced.

Vice President

Michael Lassig

Michael Lassig is Senior Vice President for AmWINS Group, an international wholesale insurance brokerage based in Charlotte, NC. He specializes in the procurement of excess casualty insurance through Lloyds of London and similar insurance markets for challenging industries throughout the United States. His responsibilities including sales, brand development, coverage negotiation, and next generation training.   His volunteer experience includes leadership on various fundraising initiatives and projects for veteran affiliated non-profits.

Michael resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife Laura, and two daughters Keely & Peyton.

Board Member / Legal Advisor

Anthony “Tony” Nasharr

Tony is a lawyer with Polsinelli, a national law firm of 850 lawyers across 20 offices. Tony is a partner in the Chicago office of Polsinelli. As one of the founding Board members of Wounded Heroes Foundation (WHF), Tony has been involved in Veteran service organizations since 2004. It is though WHF’s very first Military Adaptive Sports Camp in 2008 that Tony initially met Steve Baskis, as Steve participated in that inaugural Sports Camp program.

The RIC-WHF Military Adaptive Sports Camp is now in its 11th year, having introduced hundreds of service disabled Veterans to adaptive sports opportunities. WHF sponsored Steve’s climb of Mt Kilimanjaro back in 2011. Steve and Tony have maintained contact through the years and when Steve’s dream and mission of starting Blind Endeavors Foundation (BEF) was articulated, Tony was more than willing to assist in bringing that mission into existence with the formation of BEF and obtaining its 501(c)(3) qualification.

It has been Tony’s honor to be a friend, colleague and fellow Board member with Steve in BEF and to see all that Steve and BEF supporters have achieved with the mission of BEF to bring adaptive sports opportunities, experiences and personal growth to blind and vision impaired persons of all ages and backgrounds, whether veteran or civilian. Tony lives in the west suburbs of Chicago with his wife, Maria, and 3 children.

Treasurer

Position filled by January 2018

Secretary

Position filled by January 2018

Advisory Chair

Joe Amerling

Staff

Operations Manager

Victor Henderson

Victor is the “eyes” of the organization. He handles the website, photography, video editing, social media as well as the day to day operations. Serving 10 years split between the Marine Corps and Navy, Victor brings a diverse amount of other experience to the table. When he isn’t geeking out in front of a computer or behind the lens, he also bikes, hikes and climbs.

His interest in adaptive sports began while photographing a 9/11 memorial hike of Half Dome with Paradox Sports in 2013. Having the ability to meet some of these individuals that let nothing get in their way, Victor also had an epiphany of his own and was “Humbled by Half Dome”. He moved from being a freelance photographer to helping Steve turn Blind Endeavors into what it is today.

Volunteers