Shepherd’s Men Completes Fifth Annual Run to Raise Funds, Awareness for SHARE Military Initiative
Team moves toward $1.2 Million goal for PTSD, brain injury treatment for combat veterans.
Shepherd's Men, a team of active and former servicemen and civilians finished their epic seven-city run on Memorial Day, a day chosen for its significance in honoring fallen U.S. service members. Since 2014, Shepherd's Men has completed a run every spring to support Shepherd Center's SHARE Military Initiative, a comprehensive program that focuses on assessment and treatment for service men and women who have sustained a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury, along with co-occurring PTSD or other mental health concerns (such as depression or anxiety), from military service post-9/11. SHARE Military Initiative provides hope, assistance, support and education to service members and their families during their recovery treatment and beyond.
Shepherd's Men started their run on May 22 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Chicago, Illinois, before which they placed a wreath at the Memorial. From there, they ran a half marathon (22 km) for seven consecutive days, wearing 22-pound flak vests to symbolize the average number of deaths by suicide of U.S. veterans every day. The team ran through Chicago, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; Johnson City, Tennessee; Athens, Georgia; and Atlanta. Along their route, they met with corporate donors and supporters, firefighters and other veteran resource groups and individual donors to speak about SHARE.
On Monday, May 28, a crowd of friends and family members gathered along Peachtree Road to welcome Shepherd's Men with cheers and applause as a police escort led the way into a celebration in the plaza of the Woodruff Family Residence Center at Shepherd Center. Once at Shepherd Center, a celebration got under way as Grace Ellis, daughter of Shepherd’s Men co-founder Travis Ellis, sang the National Anthem. Sarah Batts, MBA, executive director of Shepherd Foundation served as the emcee of the event and Sarah Morrison, PT, MBA, MHA, president and CEO of Shepherd Center, offered the welcome message. Travis Ellis spoke about the SHARE Military Initiative and Shepherd’s Men while Brent Perkins of Brasfield & Gorrie gave the invocation. Jason Gallagher shared his painful experience of losing his brother, who was a veteran but not a SHARE client or graduate, to suicide. Melissa Roberts, wife of SHARE graduate Dustin Roberts spoke about how Dustin’s participation in the SHARE Military Initiative has changed their lives. Joe DeAngelo, CEO of HD Supply, which is a sponsor of Shepherd’s Men, led the coin presentation.
Shepherd’s Men will continue to raise funds for the SHARE Military Initiative throughout the year. For more information or to donate, click here. You also can support Shepherd’s Men through special events, including its upcoming sporting clays tournament, scheduled for Oct. 5 at Barnsley Resort. For more information, visit Shepherdsmen.com or follow Shepherd's Men on Facebook.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 900 inpatients, 575 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year.