Every dollar we raise goes directly to saving lives through the SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center. We are proud of our commitment to forgo using raised funds for our personal expenses. This decision was made during the Shepherd’s Men inaugural run in 2014. We as a team forwent hotel rooms if they were not sponsored and instead, slept on the floor of fire stations, outside under the stars or in personally-funded rooms.
The physical challenge of our run is nothing compared to the challenges our veterans faced in conflict. We want to showcase how capable and resilient the mind, body, and spirit can be even in extreme circumstances – for us, this means running 22km a day with 22 lbs. of gear throughout 8 cities; allowing us to get out and meet fellow veterans and patriot Americans along the way. We train six days a week prior to our annual journey through various disciplines including hiking, swimming, weight lifting and high-intensity training.
Each day 22 American veterans commit suicide. Many of these have returned from combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they were exposed to conditions contributing to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). To symbolically represent this abhorrent statistic, the Shepherd’s Men team wears 22 lbs. of ballistic weight throughout their annual run.
Since it started in 2008, SHARE has treated more than 300 military service members with mild TBI and PTSD. The program has experienced significant success in reintegrating service members into their communities, workplaces and homes. Program services are provided at no cost to the service members who are admitted to the program. The cost per veteran to complete the 8-to-12-week primarily donor-funded program is $40,000. Clients receive services at no charge to them or their families. Our 2017 goal is to raise $2.2 million and awareness of the resources available to help our heroes.
“Two years ago, a gentleman saw the news coverage while at home and drove himself to the Shepherd Center the next day, walked to the main security desk and said, ‘I saw these guys running on TV for a Military treatment program. I need help.’ He was admitted and at his graduation, he looked at me with tears streaming from his face and said ‘thank you, you saved my life.” – Travis Ellis
Absolutely! We want anyone and everyone to spend time with the Shepherd’s Men team. Bring your family and friends to run or walk one mile, two miles, or the entire 22k – whatever you wish! You can find details on the Shepherd’s Men routes in each city on our website, or on Facebook and Twitter. We also have various events, in each city we visit, that are often open for everyone to join.
You can donate by visiting our direct donation page on this website, at www.shepherdsmen.com/donate