How much of the money raised through Shepherd’s Men goes directly to benefit SHARE?
Except for the raw costs of producing some of our fund-raising events, every dollar we raise goes directly to saving lives through SHARE Military Initiative. Fortunately, event costs have often been generously donated in-kind or charged at greatly reduced rates so that every dollar possible can directly benefit SHARE clients.
We’re proud of our commitment not to use raised funds for personal expenses or salaried positions, a decision made during the Shepherd’s Men inaugural run in 2014. We even skipped staying in hotel rooms, if they were not donated, and often slept on the floor of fire stations, outside under the stars or in personally-funded rooms.
Why has Shepherd’s Men chosen running and rucking to raise funds and awareness?
People can see and relate to the physical challenge of our runs, but that’s nothing compared to the hardships our veterans face 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 with 22 pounds of gear. The runs have enabled us to meet veterans, some of whom may need the SHARE program, and patriotic Americans, who want to become involved, along the way.
What is significant about the number 22?
A 2012 Department of Defense study found that each day 22 American veterans commit suicide. To symbolize this abhorrent statistic, the Shepherd’s Men team wears 22 pounds of ballistic weight while running. In many cases, veterans who take their lives have returned from combat zones with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and may have repeatedly failed to receive adequate treatment through other programs and institutions to help them return to health and functional, happy lives.
Why is the Shepherd’s Men’s mission important?
Since the inception of SHARE in 2008, more than 750 military service members with mild-to-moderate TBI and PTSD have graduated from the program and none have taken their own lives. We think that’s a miracle. We believe it’s paramount to continue funding SHARE to reintegrate service members into their families and communities. While the cost per veteran to complete the eight to 12-week program is roughly $35,000, our fundraising support allows veterans to receive services at no charge to themselves or their families.
Can I participate with Shepherd’s Men?
Shepherd’s Men encourage everyone to become part of the solution for our veterans at risk after they have survived combat but have returned home to fight on a different battlefield. You can become involved by attending any of our events, donating or helping to spread the word that a life-saving opportunity for veterans exists at the SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center in Atlanta. Join the Shepherd’s Men Facebook page and Instagram for announcements of events as they become available.
How can I donate to Shepherd’s Men and the SHARE Military Initiative?
You can donate by visiting our direct donation page at www.shepherdsmen.com/donate