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Shepherd's Men complete 911 mile run for veterans | News

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Shepherd's Men complete 911 mile run for veterans

ATLANTA - A 911 mile journey came to an end with waving flags, cheers and applause, but for the men involved it is more than just a run.

"We owe them more than what we're giving them," said Travis Ellis.

Ellis is part of the Shepherd's Men. The group ran to raise money and awareness for veterans struggling after their return from war.

"It saved my life," said Jarrad Turner.

Turner was seriously injured in a rocket propelled grenade attack and has gone through the Shepherd Center's SHARE military initiative. He runs so that others can have the same chance at healing.

"Not only can I say thank you, but hopefully I can do what they've done for me, which is inspire me, so I'm hoping to inspire some others," Turner said of the support he has received from his fellow Shepherd's Men.


Strapped with 22 pound ballistic vests that represent veterans who have taken their lives, they are hoping to reverse the trend of veteran suicide.

"We have a lot more work to do. These vests, it's not about the weight, it's about how many people we lose on a daily basis and it's not right," said Turner.

The group has raised $200,000 that Shepherd Center President and CEO Gary Ulicny says will fund the initiative that treats veterans physically and mentally for free.

"It allows us to serve more people," said Ulicny. "This is a program that's fully funded by donations."

According to Ulicny, the program has served about 300 veterans.

The Shepherd's Men spent eight days running from from Ground Zero in New York to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

As they passed through Washington, D.C., they met Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), who joined them for a portion of the day's run. Rep. Loudermilk spoke about the Shepherd's Men on the House floor. They also met U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue in the nation's capital.

Now, even as the run has physically come to an end for the Shepherd's Men, their fight will continue.

"Last year we ran there were 22 veteran suicides per day. Today, there are 22 veteran suicides per day, so until that number goes down we'll run," said Ellis.

The Shepherd's Men are trying to raise $250,000 for SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd -- enough to pay for the program for two months.

To help the Shepherd's Men, click here.

To learn more at the Share Military Initiative at the Shepherd Center, click here.