Shepherd Center Trustee Travis Ellis, the first Georgia native to receive the Citizen Honors Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, was one of six heroes chosen by the Recipients of the Medal of Honor and recognized at a ceremony on March 25 in Arlington, Va.
Ellis, who lives in metro Atlanta and is a member of the Shepherd Center Board of Trustees, is being honored for his tireless efforts to support Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative, a donor-funded program that provides comprehensive rehabilitation services focused on assessment and treatment for service members who have sustained a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI), along with co-occurring PTSD or other mental health concerns, from service in post-9/11 conflicts.
To raise funds for SHARE, Ellis and co-founder, active duty Marine Gunnery Sergeant Troy Campbell, created Shepherd’s Men, a group of active duty military personnel, former SHARE clients and civilian volunteers. Since 2014, Shepherd’s Men has organized long-distance runs to increase awareness about the veteran suicide rate. During these week-long, multi-state relay runs, participants wear 22-pound flak jackets – symbolizing the burden of the deaths by suicide of U.S. veterans daily.
In 2016, Shepherd’s Men ran 1,300 miles from Boston to Atlanta, covering over 13 miles a day for nine days. This year’s fourth annual run is set for May 22-29 with a route through eight cities – starting in Shanksville, Penn., and concluding at Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
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.
Since 2014, Shepherd’s Men has raised more than $1.4 million for SHARE. The 2017 goal is $2.2 million, with all the proceeds supporting SHARE. For more information about Shepherd’s Men, visit shepherdsmen.com.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Ga., is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury or brain injury. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation and is a 152-bed facility. Last year Shepherd Center had 965 admissions to its inpatient programs and 571 to its day patient programs. In addition, Shepherd Center sees more than 6,600 people annually on an outpatient basis. For more information, visit Shepherd Center online at www.shepherd.org