Shepherd's Men group

Members of the Shepherd’s Men organization run in a previous half-marathon.

For those of you who don’t have Memorial Day plans, Shepherd Center in Buckhead is inviting you to spend it with Shepherd’s Men as it finishes the seventh and final half-marathon in an effort to raise funds and awareness for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Shepherd’s Men, a group of 12 active and former servicemen and civilians, aids veterans through the center’s SHARE (Shaping Hope And Recovery Excellence) Military Initiative, a nationally renowned program that treats veterans with TBI and PTSD free of charge. So far, 700 veterans have been helped with zero suicides.

The public is invited to cheer on the Shepherd’s Men as they complete the 2019 run at the center. Each year members of the group run a half-marathon every day for a week while wearing a 22-pound flak jacket.

May 19, Shepherd’s Men, along with Fire Department of New York members, climbed the 80 stories of Three World Trade Center. After that, they started a series of half-marathons through seven cities, starting in New York that day and ending in Atlanta on Memorial Day, May 27. Once in Atlanta, the group will run from The Varsity downtown to the center.

“We run 22 kilometers each day wearing 22-pound flak jackets to symbolize the number of U.S. veterans who die from suicide each day,” Shepherd’s Men co-founder Travis Ellis said in a news release. “We want these vets to know they’re not alone, and they have support every step of the way.”

In a news release, SHARE Medical Director Russell Gore, M.D., said, “There are very few places that specialize in traumatic brain injury with the expertise we have at SHARE. We are laser focused on individualized treatment. Our therapeutic teams help veterans set and achieve personal goals that provide a new sense of purpose. It’s immersive and it works.”

Shepherd’s Men aims to raise $1.2 million to cover a year of clinical expenses for SHARE.

For this Memorial Day, the Shepherd’s Men will be joined by Kevn Kinney, lead singer of Drivin N Cryin, who will perform at the center starting at 1:15 p.m. The event will also include games, activities, and lunch provided by a Varsity food truck. The center is located at 2020 Peachtree Road NW in Atlanta.

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