Dallas, TX – Run Ranger Run, a nonprofit event created by military support network, GallantFew, Inc., is a month-long challenge where teams across the world form together to run and raise awareness for veterans transitioning back to civilian life. Teams made up of one to ten people are created across the world with the goal of running (but can also swim, bike, walk, or kayak) a total of 565 miles during the month of February.
Run Ranger Run is designed to raise awareness and funds while bridging the military and civilian communities. The challenge was inspired by veteran Cory Smith who was the first to complete the 565 miles. Funds go directly toward GallantFew, Inc and their mission to help every veteran achieve a peaceful, smooth transition from military service to a life filled with hope and purpose.
The teams will raise funds and increase awareness for veteran issues such as: unemployment, homelessness, suicide, and divorce. Teams can register and track their progress online, so they do not all have to be located in the same area. They can honor a fallen, wounded, or active military member by naming their team in honor of that person.
Registration is now open for the challenge. Click here to register.
Run Ranger Run: GallantFew’s major annual awareness and fundraising event. It was created to honor and continue the mission of US Army Ranger Veteran Corporal Cory Smith, who in 2012 ran, walked, and biked 565 miles from Fort Benning, Georgia to his home in Indianapolis, Indiana. Cory had a dream of educating the public on the difficult journey a soldier has becoming a civilian.
Watch Cory’s story: youtube.com/watchv=4PLtikqHd_A&feature=youtu.be
U.S. Veterans Magazinee had the opportunity to sit down with Karl Monger, Founder and Executive Director of GallantFew,Inc., to get all the details about Run Ranger Run.
U.S. Veterans Magazine: What is Run Ranger Run?
Karl Monger: Run Ranger Run is an annual month-long awareness and fundraising event for nonprofit Veteran service organization, GallantFew.
Teams of up to ten individuals pledge to walk, run, row, kayak and/or ride bicycles a combined total of 565 miles in the month of February. Each team will raise funds for GallantFew and increase awareness for issues Veterans face as they transition from military service to civilian life. Teams can be one to ten people and they are not limited geographically. Run Ranger Run is not a race, but rather a challenge its participants take on together.
What we love about Run Ranger Run is that teams can be local groups that log miles together or can be a team spread out across the USA or even overseas. All that is important is the commitment team members make to each other to complete their 565 miles.
In 2012, 3rd Ranger Battalion veteran US Army Corporal Cory Smith, having deployed to combat twice, experienced having friends killed and wounded and with his own marriage failing decided to highlight the difficult journey home many soldiers have leaving the Army by undergoing a very public and very difficult journey home himself. Cory decided to run 565 miles in 28 days with the end goal of his run to hold his daughter Elleigh in his arms. Run Ranger Run today is named for and is inspired by Cory Smith’s journey.
To honor Cory’s incredible effort and to continue the momentum to raise awareness for Veteran issues and GallantFew’s response to them – particularly around divorce, unemployment, homelessness and suicide – GallantFew offers our annual Run Ranger Run event.
U.S. Veterans Magazine: How does Run Ranger Run make a positive impact on the veteran community? What is the history?
Karl Monger: Run Ranger Run is a story of victory and triumph that resonates in the Veteran community. It resonates because it inspires from a story about the power of one. The power one person has when he is determined to make a commitment, dares to take bold action and refuses to fall short of the commitment he makes to his fellow Veterans, family members or friends. It brings to light that the path to victory is not always the one we planned. In Corporal Cory Smith’s journey he planned to run 565 miles home. Half way through the route he developed stress fractures in his shins and was not medically cleared to continue running. Smith completed his mission by walking and then riding a bike. He did not give up and he utilized all that was available to him to stay in the fight and honor his commitment.
Our Run Ranger Run participants are inspired by Corporal Cory Smith. They are inspired by Cory for the reason he chose to run home and face those 565 miles. Finally, they connect with their own opportunity to make a difference and inspire others.
What type of a positive impact does Run Ranger Run have on the Veteran community? We have one Veteran who shared a great personal journey and triumph after Run Ranger Run a couple of years ago. I believe she summed it up best when she said, “I ran every day, on a trail or park, and seriously felt as if I have twenty people running with me…yet I was alone.”
Run Ranger Run has a powerful effect of giving you a place of belonging. You have a place on your team, your team is amongst hundreds of others all with the same goal and everyone is working together to spread a powerful message. The power of one then turns into the power of many or what we like to call … the GallantFew.
I will close by sharing another story. This past year we had a Marine Corps Staff Sergeant, Chris Little, who reached out to us after reading about Run Ranger Run in a publication that was on his ship. He wanted to complete 565 miles while still deployed. In order to do that he needed to complete the miles in October/November rather than in February. He sent us reports and documentation of his miles and we featured a story on him on our website (http://www.runrangerrun.com/feature-stories/). Little returned home in January and helped us raise funds throughout the month of February. Shortly thereafter Ssgt Chris Little was in a terrifying and life-threatening accident. Still in the hospital and healing from his injuries he said he credits Run Ranger Run for the great physical shape he was in and his ability to withstand and survive such an accident.
U.S. Veterans Magazine How does the mission of GallantFew, Inc. relate to Run Ranger Run?
Karl Monger: GallantFew’s mission is to facilitate a peaceful, successful transition from military service to civilian life filled with hope and purpose.
It’s all about community, and there are two levels to that community. The first is the veteran community, the second is the local geographic community. By building this nationwide network of successfully transitioned veterans we have a force ready to connect with a veteran just like themselves, returning from military service. We can’t predict where the next veteran entering our network will choose to live, and our challenge is making that connection happen wherever they might be.
Veterans that have successfully transitioned have a wealth of lessons learned about that transition, but before GallantFew no one had intentionally set out to capture those lessons and share them with those about to walk that same path. We call these veteran mentors Guides, and those they mentor are Future Guides. When they are comfortable in their transition, we want them to in turn become a Guide and continue the cycle. Sounds like common sense, doesn’t it?
Common sense underlies everything we do. GallantFew believes we are all able to choose our response to any situation we face – whether it’s to take a drink or get into an argument with someone. Developing that ability has grown into our STAR model. STAR stands for Self-Training and Response-Ability and has five points of functional fitness: Spiritual, Emotional, Physical, Professional and Social. We use the terms functional, because it has to be applicable in daily life and fitness, because we want to measure and improve it.
Run Ranger Run fits brilliantly on top of our STAR model and touches every one of the five points of the STAR. The obvious part exercise – but it provides purpose (spiritual), friendship (social), networking (professional), and builds self-confidence and trust (emotional). The challenge is a perfect way for a Veteran to experience these initiatives, but is also a great vehicle to communicate with others about what GallantFew is doing and why it is important.
U.S. Veterans Magazine: How is funding from Run Ranger Run distributed?
Karl Monger: 100% of the funds generated through Run Ranger Run go to support GallantFew. In fact, all Run Ranger Run operational costs are covered through registration. Therefore, all donations made through Run Ranger Run go to support the work of the charity.
Quite frankly, GallantFew relies on the success of Run Ranger Run for its annual operating budget. Without our participants and all our donors we would not be able to provide the number of services we do (1300 in 2016). 90% of the GallantFew team provides 100% of GallantFew’s direct mission-based services. Funds received through Run Ranger Run also ensure that all charitable donations made throughout the year go directly to mission related services.
U.S. Veterans Magazine: When and where is this taking place?
Karl Monger: Run Ranger Run is a ‘virtual’ event that take please over the entire month of February. Meaning, you may participate from any location of your choosing. You can participate on a treadmill in your spare bedroom, take to the open road, or meet friends at the local park. You get to choose where Run Ranger Run is located each and every time you gear up and head out to log some miles.
We do typically have several kick-off events on the last Saturday in January. Kick-off events are unique to who and where the events are being organized. We have a committee tasked with helping to organize small kick off events in Columbus, GA; Savannah, GA and this year Fort Worth, TX will host a kick-off event.
Run Ranger Run also has a group of community ambassadors who represent small geographic locations where they agree to help spread the word of Run Ranger Run and lead kick-off style events in his/her community.
U.S. Veterans Magazine: If someone is interested in participating, what are the steps that they need take to get involved?
Karl Monger: When someone is interested in participating in Run Ranger Run they can go to www.runrangerrun.com. From here it will link you directly to registration. The registration process is quick, simple and allows you to register more than one person at a time. When registering our participants will be asked if he or she wants to join a team or start a team. If you know a team you want to join just search for that team name. Otherwise you can choose to start your own team.
Once fully registered you will receive a fundraising URL. You can send that URL to your family, friend and colleagues to ask them to join your Run Ranger Run team. You can also send that URL link to ask for donations to support the GallantFew mission.
Finally you will receive a note linking you to a page where you are able to register to log miles. The whole process takes about two minutes and then you are set and ready to roll.
Run Ranger Run is in February, but registration is open now. We have more than a hundred people registered with more than 30 teams formed for 2018 already. We will conduct fun challenges as we build up to February.
U.S. Veterans Magazine: Where can we learn more information about Run Ranger Run? (Websites, social media etc.)
Karl Monger: You can learn more about Run Ranger Run on our website, www.runrangerrun.com. We make regular posts on Facebook @RunRangerRun; Instagram @RunRangerRun; and Twitter @RunRgrRun
U.S. Veterans Magazine: How can someone help to promote this starting now and leading up to the event?
Karl Monger: We have created a community ambassador packet with tips, ideas and strategies on ways you can help promote and engage with Run Ranger Run. Here are some of our favorites:
Word of mouth goes a long way. Share the movement and know your facts. Run Ranger Run facts sheets are available to help answer questions and express to people why this particular fundraiser is so very important. Running clubs, gyms, and community groups are a great place to recruit new participants. Do you have people you know who are avid runners? Do you know of people who want to commit to a New Year’s Resolution? Do you have a group that supports the military or veterans? Any of those groups are great for sharing information about Run Ranger Run and encouraging participation.
Is someone unsure about participating because they don’t think they can fill a team? No problem! Not every member of a team has to be a marathon runner – in fact the first year of Run Ranger Run I had just undergone a total hip replacement. I measured my distance is yards, not miles but it gave me motivation to get out and log as many as I could. Everyone can do their part. Run Ranger Run is typically a team event and that means everyone comes together to do what they personally can to contribute miles at any skill level. Many teams have team members that live in multiple states, so if someone wants to join but doesn’t know enough people locally, encourage them to recruit member from different states. There is also the option to register as a “Lone Wolf” if someone wants to participate, but doesn’t want to be on a team.
Think outside the box. Run Ranger Run can be for everyone. Some people will want to participate because they feel a personal connection to GallantFew’s mission or to the story of Cory Smith’s personal journey. Some may have a fitness goal they are wanting to reach or they may just be starting on a new fitness journey. People of all fitness levels have participated in Run Ranger Run and all are welcome.
Social media. Use the Run Ranger Run Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to spread the word about promotions, other teams and participants, and updates on your personal social media sites. If you belong to a community group where you can share posts or information, share Run Ranger Run updates there as well. Please use #RunRangerRun, #RRR18
Share Information. Do you belong to a gym, running club, community or other group? Ask if you can share a Run Ranger Run flyer, postcard or poster at their facility or on their website. Always direct them to www.runrangerrun.com for more information about Run Ranger Run, registration and updates. Reach out to Jeremiah, Ashley or Candyss to request marketing materials.
Hold a Kick Off Event. All around the country there will be Run Ranger Run Kick Off Events. You can help kick things off January 27th by organizing an event too!
Jessica Stith is our Kick Off Committee chair and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Veterans Magazine: What is the most important thing you’ve learned since this event began?
Karl Monger: That there are people across the country that are eager to get involved and help veterans, but no one has been engaging them. We can pull a map of Run Ranger Run participants in a community and there will be a number of participants with team members in other communities, but they don’t know the other local people participating! What a great opportunity to connect local people all working towards a common cause so they can be even more effective. The greater we grow this network, the more veterans will find out about GallantFew and get connected.
About the Founder Karl Monger
Karl Monger is the founder and Executive Director of GallantFew,Inc., a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization formed in 2010 and dedicated to helping veterans transition to civilian lives full of purpose and hope. His vision of building a nationwide network of veterans successfully transitioned who guide veterans transitioning has helped over a thousand veterans. He has developed or helped develop numerous innovative veteran programs to include The Darby Project (Army Rangers), The Raider Project (Marine Corps Special Operations and infantry veterans), Run Ranger Run (a global collaborative team fitness event and fundraiser), and was executive producer of the award-winning 2015 veteran short film “Prisoner of War”. He authored “Common Sense Transition”, a nonfiction work published in 2017.
He produces and hosts the audio and video podcast “The New American Veteran” and publishes the online newspapers The GallantFew Daily and Sua Sponte Weekly. He is a certified Burris Institute Master Coach providing Functional Emotional Fitness™ coaching to veterans.
Karl is also owner and CEO of Transitur, LLC, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in personal growth coaching, veteran care and support issues, and advising corporations and agencies on veteran-related activities and practices. As a Kansas Small Business Development Center consultant, he assisted veterans establish or expand their small businesses and was named the 2012 U.S. Small Business Administration Region VII Veteran Small Business Advocate of the Year.
Karl began his military career as an Army ROTC scholarship cadet at Wichita State University where he graduated with a degree in Administration of justice and was named Distinguished Military Graduate. He served as an infantry platoon leader, rifle company commander, and st Ranger battalion staff officer, and parachuted with the 1 Ranger Battalion into Kuwait during a show of force operation in 1992. He holds the rank of Major, retired Reserves.
He is a graduate of Ranger, Jumpmaster, Airborne and Air Assault Schools, the Command and General Staff Officers Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Armor Officer Basic Course, and the US Air Force Air Ground Operations School. His awards and decorations include two Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, Southwest Asia Service Medal with bronze campaign star, Korea Service Medal, the Expert Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist and Air Assault Wings.
Since departing active duty he has held general manager and sales manager leadership positions in several corporations and served as Executive Director of a Big Brothers Big Sisters agency. He spends his spare time keeping fit through rock climbing and biking and is active in Metroport Rotary Club and the Metroport Veterans Association. Karl is a past member of the US Army Ranger Association Board of Directors, past Chairman of the Board of Deacons, Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita Kansas, and has mentored troubled youth and prison inmates. He is married to the former Sara Callender and lives in Texas. He has two grown daughters and two grandsons.
Run Ranger Run Links:
Run Ranger Run Website (for more info, to register, and donate): runrangerrun.com
What is Run Ranger Run?: youtube.com/watch?v=ekeAuObH91E
GallantFew, Inc: gallantfew.org