COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – On this chilly last weekend of January, runners and cyclists in the Fountain City are warming up with a nation-wide run, all part of a benefit for our military veterans through the "Run Ranger Run" campaign.
The first mile of 565, just the start of a month-long effort from the 'Run Ranger Run' campaign to bring awareness to veterans' issues."
Volunteer Alyssa Sudermann knew plenty of friends in the veteran community who struggled in their transition to civilian life. Through Run Ranger Run, she says she's able to serve them.
"I'm a civilian and I've never served, but being able to serve the military in this capacity is always an amazing adventure," said Alyssa Sudermann, Marketing Coordinator for Run Ranger Run.
Starting February 1, teams of up to 10 athletes will try to collectively run, bike, or row 565 miles.
Veteran Jessica Stith found this event last year and now helped lead the 2017 run in Columbus, hoping to mentor and guide other transitioning soldiers just like her.
"I didn't realize it at the time, it's kind of hindsight. You realize, all this could've been easier, I could've gone down this road. I don't want people to struggle. I don't want my brothers and sisters to struggle where I did, so that's kind of why I've stepped up and this is so important to me," said Stith.
All the proceeds collected throughout February will go to benefit the Gallant Few Foundation, as they link up mentors with recently returned vets, as they try to reintegrate into society.
Teams in Columbus, as well as across the country, will try to beat last year's fundraising goal of more than $161,000.
Since 2013, Gallant Few has raised nearly $530,000 for the cause.