Runners complete journey from Fort Benning to Fort Gordon

Sunday, March 2, 2014 8:42 PM
Last updated Monday, March 3, 2014 1:45 AM
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Six Millen, Ga., men arrived at Fort Gordon on Sunday, completing a 300-mile cross-state run to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and the Fisher House.

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Maj. Gen. LaWarren Patterson (right) and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Pfleiger (center) presented a coin to the six men who ran from Fort Benning to Fort Gordon.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Maj. Gen. LaWarren Patterson (right) and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Pfleiger (center) presented a coin to the six men who ran from Fort Benning to Fort Gordon.

The journey, which began Thursday at Fort Benning, Ga., was conducted in a relay format, organizer Ray Miller said. Each of the men alternated between running three miles and riding in an escort vehicle for nine.

Miller said inspiration for the run came about three years ago, when he and a few colleagues toyed with the idea of running a relay from Millen to nearby Statesboro.

“Then we kind of thought about how we could perform this run for a worthwhile cause,” Miller said. “With the war always on the television and with our proximity to Fort Gordon, it made sense that we should help our wounded soldiers out.”

The team ran about 54 miles on Sunday to complete the journey. By the time it reached the steps of the Fisher House on Fort Gordon, the team had raised about $3,000.

The runners were greeted by several hundred soldiers who lined the entrance of the house, which provides accommodations for families of soldiers being treated at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center.

Runner Randy Brannen said the sight was humbling.

“It’s truly an honor to help out in any way that I can because I know the money that we’ve raised is going to a good cause,” he said.

After the first day of the trip, Brannen said, he began to struggle physically. Maintaining a one-track mind helped him push through the entire run.

“I said to myself, ‘This is nothing compared to what those soldiers went through. My pain is nothing compared to what their pain is,’ ” Brannen said. “They help me to do what I do.”

Fisher House Manager Francisco Cruz Jr. and Maj. Gen. LaWarren V. Patterson, the commander of the U.S. Army Signal Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, greeted the runners with applause as onlookers joined them.

“This is awesome,” Cruz said. “Not only because they’re raising the funds, but they’re raising awareness … For us to be on the receiving end of that, it’s tremendous.”

Miller said the team will continue to gather donations for the next three weeks.


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