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Run Ranger Run helps veterans transition to civilian life in 565 miles

BURNET — Veterans’ advocates say one of the biggest issues facing military personnel is their transition from armed services life to civilian life. It’s a circumstance that hit former Army Ranger Cory Smith last year when he left the military after two combat deployments.

He realized that not only was he facing a tough readjustment to civilian life, but thousands of veterans just like him were struggling with the same thing.

So Smith, maybe unintentionally, created a national awareness campaign in February to highlight veterans issues revolving around leaving the military and rejoining civilian life. Run Ranger Run is a month-long team event that lets members run or cycle a total of 565 miles during the 28-day month.

It all starts Feb. 2 with the Run Ranger Run 5K Kick Off at Reveille Peak Ranch, 105 CR 114 west of Burnet.

“Last year, when Corporal Smith was having a difficult time transitioning from Army duty to civilian life, somebody told him to focus on something that he is passionate about,” said Candyss Bryant, a Gallant Few board member and executive director of Serve Who Serve. Both organizations share common goals of helping active-duty military members and veterans. “Cory said, ‘I’m passionate about running.’”

So last February, after his detachment from the Army, Smith ran from Georgia to his Indianapolis home — a distance of 565 miles — to hold his daughter.

The run became the basis of Run Ranger Run. Proceeds from the event benefit Gallant Few, which helps veterans as they transition to civilian life.

“We know that this year we’re a little bit behind the curve,” Bryant said. “When we started to look for a place to hold a kickoff event, Reveille Peak was the perfect place.”

The 5K kickoff is open to all. People can register by going to www.runrangerrun.com or the Reveille Peak Ranch website at http://rprtexas.com.

“If people want to just come out and support the runners and the cause, that would be great,” Bryant said. “Because the course goes out into the ranch, you can’t see much of the run, but you can be there at the start and finish.”

The run starts at 10 a.m. with race-day check in at 8:30 a.m.

daniel@thepicayune.com