BALTIMORE — Ten years ago a veteran took off for a long distance run to help his brothers and sisters returning home.
It was more than 500 miles.
That journey has turned into a nationwide challenge and it raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for veteran organizations across the country.
The Patriot Challenge is an annual fundraiser and it lasts the entire month of February.
It’s roots honor Third Ranger Battalion Service Member Cory Smith.
Tony Mayne is the director of Gallant Few, the organization that runs the Patriots Challenge.
“After a difficult transition, coming back from a deployment, losing his wife and having a child," Mayne said. "He decided to run all the way from Fort Benning Georgia to his home in Indianapolis Indiana, 565 miles.”
On that journey he teamed up with Gallant Few to raise awareness about the challenges in transition and funds for Gallant Few's programs that help veterans who are returning home.
Although a lot of fundraisers were hurt by the pandemic, they were able to set a record this year with over $466,000 with more than $65,000 going to local military support initiatives.
"As RBC Wealth Management showed, when you have teams that work together and create competition for a cause everyone can be involved in it can succeed," said Mayne. "We actually raised over $80,000 more this year than last year with 1600 less participants.”
Mark Gorius, the Director of Operations for RBC Wealth Management said the company participated with teams across the country.
“Specifically in the Baltimore area we had a team of roughly 38 individuals that raised over $20,000 that went towards the Gallant Few this year," Gorius said.
Most of the RBC employees who participated aren’t veterans, but they are led by Marcus Hull a retired Army Ranger who now works for the Frederick branch of RBC.
“They have a passion for veterans and that’s where the connection and where you can connect all the dots and it makes a lot of sense," said Hull. "That was really great to see so many of our employees get involved with helping veterans who they might not know how to help and this is a great way to do it.”
The 565 miles is the goal for a person or a team.
Whether it’s running biking rowing or just walking.
They're all moving to honor and help our heroes.
Pre-registration for next year's Patriot challenge is underway, to register, click here.