Supporting Veterans With A 720-Mile Run for Wounded Warrior Project
Troy Drasher ran for 30 days, to get back home where his wife and three children were waiting for him. The 42-year-old left Aurora, Colorado, on September 15, charting a 720-mile path southward to his final destination in Abilene, Texas, on October 15, 2015.
"I like to run. It's how I deal with stress," Drasher said. "One day I was running on the base and I thought, 'if I could, I would run back to my family.' I missed them quite a bit."
A moment of clarity came to Troy at the 19-year mark of his service as he was running on the treadmill at Buckley Air Force base. "I've always loved Wounded Warrior Project," Drasher said. "If I could mix my passions, my love for family, running, and the warriors, why not?"
So he started running with his parents in tow behind him, monitoring his progress and keeping an eye on his health. Along his route, he had help from passersby and local residents of the places he passed through. "In every town I passed through I was escorted by local police, sheriffs, state police, fire departments, EMT's, whoever was available," Drasher said. "In Dumas they gave us an escort all the way through town."
Later that evening, the chief of police in Dumas, Texas, got together with his officers and paid for the family to stay in a hotel for the night. Drasher said this also happened in Springfield, Colorado. In Stratford, Texas, a local high school brought their athletes and cheerleaders out to run with him as well.
"The support I've seen thus far has been unbelievable," Drasher said. "It's truly humbling."
Drasher’s efforts are supporting WWP's 20 free-life saving programs and services. So far, his 30-day-marathon run has raised more than $13,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, far exceeding his original goal of $5,000. When asked why he wanted to give back to this organization specifically, Drasher noted that he's always felt a strong connection with the warriors. He identified it as something intangible that he couldn't quite describe.
"I'm in the air force. I was a bomb loader for my six tours," Drasher said, speaking slowly as he collected his thoughts. "If something didn't work or went wrong, I always took things very personal. I guess it came down to, sometimes I just want to know our troops receive a good night's sleep out there."
At the end of his journey, Drasher reflected on what got him on this 720-mile adventure in the first place: "Whenever I see what Wounded Warrior Project does for my brothers and sisters, it means a lot," Drasher said, clearing his throat. "I've had friends who have benefited from the WWP programs firsthand. It put a smile on their faces. You don't always see everyone's injury. Some injuries are obvious. For others they are invisible but just as difficult. To see those people get out and smile, to have fun and enjoy life again? That's what matters most."
To learn more about Troy's run to support WWP, please visit the Wounded Warrior Project.
About Wounded Warrior Project
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP's purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.