Since 2014, Shepherd’s Men has raised more than $5 million and the team has run more than 5,000 miles. Our goal is to cover SHARE’s annual clinical budget of $1.2 million and increase the number of clients who can be served and saved each year.
- Imagine running a half marathon every day for a week. Now, strap on a 22-pound flak jacket to represent the 22 veteran suicides each day. That’s what Shepherd’s Men have done each year to honor our veteran heroes and raise funds for SHARE.
- Along the run routes, the Shepherd’s Men have met with veteran’s service organizations, police, firemen and other local organizations to honor those who have fought for our freedom and bring attention to post-9/11 service members who need treatment.
People can relate to the physical challenge of running, but it’s nothing compared to the hardships our veterans have faced in combat. We want to show how capable and resilient the mind, body and spirit can be in extreme circumstances. For Shepherd’s Men, this has meant running 22 kilometers a day for more than a week with 22 pounds of gear.
EACH YEAR'S RUN HAS A PROFOUND STORY
- The team’s sixth run began with an 80-story climb up the Three World Trade Center Tower with members of the FDNY, followed by half-marathons in Groton, CT; NYC; Washington, D.C.; Johnson City and Nashville, TN; Athens, GA and ended in Atlanta on Memorial Day.
- Widespread media coverage included dozens of national TV spots aired by CNN plus national radio and local coverage across run cities.
- Corporate partners such as Goldman Sachs and Salesforce joined the movement and their support propelled the Shepherd’s Men mission from grassroots to global.
- The fifth-year run began at the Willis Tower in Chicago followed by half-marathons in Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Johnson City, TN, Athens, GA and finishing in Atlanta on Memorial Day.
- The highlight of the campaign was climbing the Willis Tower with members of Chicago SWAT as well as a reception at Tootsies in Nashville, hosted by icon, friend and patriot, Charlie Daniels and The Journey Home Project.
- More corporate partners joined the campaign and built momentum. Industry leader Brasfield and Gorrie bestowed a five-year commitment to support the mission which will exceed $1.5 million in support. In addition an Atlanta institution, The Varsity, celebrated their 90 years in business by donating $100,000 to Shepherd’s Men.
- The fourth annual run began at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA. and paid tribute to the often-forgotten heroes who gave their lives at that hallowed ground. Team members each ruck-marched with 93 pounds on the first day of the campaign and would don the heavy weight for one additional day during the eight-day journey. At the Flight 93 Memorial, the team was humbled to meet the family of Mark Bingham, one of the passengers who wrestled the controls of the airplane away from the enemy.
- Other cities on the route included Washington, DC; Lynchburg, VA; Raleigh, NC, Asheville, NC; Nashville, TN; and Athens, GA – arriving at Shepherd Center in Atlanta on Memorial Day. The team met friends and supporters at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church at Martin Luther King Center to prepare for the final four-mile movement to Shepherd Center. It was very poignant to rally here because Dr. King embodied the spirit of our mission and devoted his life to easing the pain of the burdened.
- Prior to the ruck in Shanksville, Shepherd’s Men told their story to a national audience in New York City on FOX & Friends; other widespread coverage boosted visibility for SHARE and donations topped $1 million.
- Jason Gallagher joined the Shepherd’s Men team in 2017 and has been a vital contributor to our overall mission success. Additionally, this marked the first year that we received support from Patti Reed in Athens, GA. Patti and Jason have each endured the loss of a beloved veteran family member by suicide. Our mission is straightforward…it is our goal to see that no other family experiences the grief, and profound sense of loss that the Gallagher and Reed families have suffered. The mission presses on.
- This run of nine half-marathons over nine days began in Boston on March 26 and advanced to Newport, RI; NYC, Gettysburg, PA; Lynchburg, VA; Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga, TN, ending in Atlanta on April 3.
- The team raised nearly $1 million for SHARE.
- In Boston, the team was joined by Jorge Rodriquez, SHARE graduate, for the first three miles. It was an inspiration to have Jorge and his family present and the Rodriguez family continues to inspire our team. The team was hosted by Newport Fire while in Rhode Island and enjoyed a sunrise Easter Sunday service at Trinity Episcopal Church, one of the oldest houses of worship in the United States. In Washington, team members were invited to sit in the gallery at the House of Representatives where Congressman Barry Loudermilk (GA11) recognized the Shepherd’s Men organization and mission from the podium. His presentation was included in the Congressional Record. Rep. Loudermilk also ran with the team, forming an incredible friendship. In NYC, the team and mission were catapulted into a vast new arena as we had the privilege of ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
- One of the most important takeaways from our third campaign was to receive corporate support from HD Supply and their CEO, Joe DeAngelo. Mr. DeAngelo is a tireless advocate for the Shepherd’s Men mission and has generously provided moral and financial support year after year.
- The team ran 911 miles in seven days from the 9/11 Memorial in NYC to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta and arrived on Memorial Day. To increase their own individual burden, the team wore 22-pound flak jackets for the duration of the journey. Symbolically, this was meant to draw attention to the 22 veteran suicides that were occurring daily, as well as let those who may have been suffering in silence know they were not alone. We would, and continue to, SHARE their burden.
- Donations of $280k were more than double the previous year’s total.
- The events of September 11, 2001 were the genesis of everything for so many, especially those for whom we advocate today. It seemed fitting to start the run where it all began in New York City. A powerful and lasting friendship was born through the 2015 campaign. The team had the privilege of starting our journey at the FDNY Memorial, adjacent to the 10 House, Ladder 10, Engine 10, FDNY, who lost six heroes on 9/11. 343 firefighters were lost on that somber day and the team honored those lost with a wreath presentation and were inspired by remarks from Chief Jay Jonas, one of the many heroes who ran toward the fire, putting others before self. Our team is always welcomed with open arms by the heroes of the 10 House. In addition to this moving tribute, the team was hosted by the National Commander of the American Legion for a dim sum lunch in Chinatown, and was also invited to attend a Memorial Service for an original plank holder aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid. What began as a spontaneous plan of action with an unknown ceiling became legitimate, recognized and impactful.
- The team’s first run spanned a six day, 684-mile journey between Shepherd Center in Atlanta and the United States Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, VA.
$135k was raised for SHARE.
- The run grabbed the attention of the media and inspired corporate partners, such as Verizon Wireless, to SHARE the burden.
- A special honor was being invited to attend the National Memorial Day Concert on the Mall in Washington, D.C. as VIP guests. The team was in the presence of giants among men as the honorees were survivors of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, who scaled the cliffs of Pointe Du Hoc, in Normandy, on 6 June 1944. Our team was humbled by this opportunity, and if this was the precursor of things to come, we recognized the significance of the obligation ahead of us.