Katie McCarthy: Run Ranger Run raises funds for veterans

February 7, 2013 

Fundraising can be intimidating.

Afraid that I won't reach my goal, I'm generally more likely to donate rather than raise funds.

However, my husband and I were recently asked to join a team of Army Rangers and Ranger wives in a monthlong fundraiser for GallantFew, Inc. How could I refuse?

According to its website, GallantFew is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose "mission is to reduce U.S. Army Ranger veteran unemployment, homelessness and eliminate Ranger veteran suicide by a unique program of one-on-one mentoring by a Ranger veteran, now successful in civilian business, with a Ranger veteran just departed active duty."

Their goal is to eventually reach out to all honorably discharged veterans.

The Run Ranger Run fundraiser was inspired by U.S. Army Cpl. Cory Smith, who last year ran from Columbus to his home in Indiana to highlight the above-mentioned struggles many veterans face upon returning home after serving in the Army.

You may remember that we covered his story.

He ran 565 miles in 28 days, setting the standard for the fundraiser. Each team participating in this year's event must run, walk or bike 565 miles during the 28 days of February.

While Smith did it alone, my team, The Snow Running Rangers (note: our team captain lives in Fort Drum, N.Y.), is made up of 10 individuals who have a personal connection to the cause. My husband was a Ranger Instructor at Fort Benning for four years -- and served more than 10 years in the Army -- before he returned to civilian life last year.

Because Fort Benning is home to both the 4th Ranger Training Brigade and the 75th Ranger Regiment, our community stands to benefit greatly from the programs GallantFew provides.

"Veterans of the 75th Ranger Regiment and the Ranger Training Brigade/Ranger School graduates are our primary focus," Karl Monger, executive director of GallantFew, wrote in an email earlier this week. "… We want every Ranger that returns to civilian life to be welcomed back home by a Ranger veteran, previously successfully transitioned."

The plan is for Run Ranger Run to be an annual event and by the numbers -- as of Tuesday evening there were 86 teams, 560 active participants and 4,996.5 miles logged for the event -- they seem to have the support.

Interested in making a donation? I thought you'd never ask! Visit www.crowdrise.com/TheSnowRunningRangers-runrange to pledge to my team.

Or you can join in the fun yourself by starting your own team.

Run Ranger Run event director Candyss Bryant said that participant registration is still open, though the 565-mile goal remains the same, regardless of when you sign up.

She noted: "One team logged more than four hundred miles on the first day."

Katie McCarthy, copy editor, can be reached at 706-571-8515 or kmccarthy@ledger-enquirer.com.

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