A year ago, Woodbury resident Michele Tuchner and her daughter Annie Sandell, along with a friend, spent 16 days trekking from 8,500 feet to 18,500 feet to reach their goal: the Mount Everest base camp. This followed 18 months of training and investing in the gear necessary to make a successful trek.
Tuchner, a retired state patrol trooper, had recently taken a position as a peace officer and director of the alcohol and gambling enforcement division in Minnesota’s department of public safety. “The position didn’t hold the excitement of my previous employment, so over a cup of coffee with my friend and former state patrol partner, Cheri Frandrup, we discussed what might be an exciting and entertaining thing to do,” Tuchner says. “We chose Mount Everest and agreed to invite my daughter, Annie Sandell, who was then a college freshman.”
The trio left Minnesota on October 10, 2014 and reached the base camp on the 10th day. “While that was our primary goal, it was the experiences along the trek and the bonds formed among fellow trekkers, plus experiencing the Nepalese culture and the Sherpas, that was the most rewarding, satisfying and life-changing,” Tuchner says. “That’s why it was especially tragic when we learned of the earthquakes this past spring that tore apart their country and their lives. The destruction broke our hearts; we’ve sent aid to our friends to help them rebuild their homes and their lives.
“Even during this disaster, they’re still an amazing people, full of hope and love,” she says. “Without them, we could never have accomplished our goal.”