First Sergeant runs for those who sacrificed for others
By Airman 1st Class Luke W. Nowakowski, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 02, 2015
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- His passions have led him to this road. Seven hundred and twenty miles separate him from his goal.
Operation 720 is what Master Sgt. Troy Drasher, 460th Space Wing 2nd Space Warning Squadron first sergeant, is calling his ultra-marathon from Aurora, Colorado to Abilene, Texas, which aims to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. He hopes to raise five thousand dollars and the run is intended to take him 30 days from its start on 15 Sept. to its projected finish on 15 Oct. Each day, Drasher will be running a distance equivalent to a marathon in order to make it to Abilene in 30 days.
"The one thing I've been really passionate about is the wounded warriors," Drasher said. "As a weapons troop in my previous career, we did a lot of close air support missions. I got to see all the footage. I had an intimate relationship with making sure my weapon systems would work when troops on the ground were in trouble and needed help. I took it very serious, very personal if something malfunctioned."
As he nears the end of his career in the military, Drasher wondered to himself, "How am I going to leave my mark?"
As an avid runner, many miles and a lot of meditation led him to the idea of this feat. He came to the realization that he could combine his passion of running with his desire to impact others by doing something out of the box.
"Let's just take all these loves and all this passion that I have and put it all together for one single goal," Drasher said. "That's when I contacted The Wounded Warrior Project."
Drasher chose to run to Abilene because that is where he had to leave his family behind in order to fulfill his duties in the military. He received orders to be a first sergeant at Buckley Air Force Base after spending 18 years at Dyess AFB, Texas. He applied for a high school deferment so that his children could graduate high school with the friends they grew up with, but was denied. Due to this, Drasher and his wife Samantha decided they'd do what they believed was best for their children and allow them to graduate in the town they grew up in while Drasher attended to his duties at Buckley AFB.
Drasher has been training for months in order to prepare his body for the grueling journey he is about to endure. To build his endurance, he has been running half marathons and marathons to condition his body for the 720-mile run.
"What I plan to do is break up every day into stages," Drasher said. "If I can get all of the mileage in, in small increments with breaks, then I have a sufficient amount of time to allow my body to heal and rest and be prepared for the next day."
Drasher isn't making this journey alone. He will be accompanied by his parents, Bill and Roberta Drasher, both former Air Force members, who will follow him in vehicles in order to give him any type of support he will need along his journey.
"They're behind me a hundred percent," said Drasher. "They're some pretty big supporters and have helped quite a bit with this."
Both Roberta and Bill are extremely proud of Drasher and wholeheartedly believe he can accomplish his goal.
"His mother and I are very proud of him," Bill Drasher said. "I think it's a wonderful endeavor and he's just trying to create awareness of the (Wounded Warrior Project)."
Although raising his goal of five thousand dollars would be nice, Drasher believes the real victory is raising awareness for wounded warriors.
"What's priceless throughout the whole thing is planting the seeds of awareness," Drasher "There are many levels of success that I measure through and donations are just one of them."
Drasher said he is honored and excited to take on this feat. With two weeks left before the start, he is just ready to get the show on the road. The only thing that makes him nervous are the unforeseen variables that may create difficult conditions for running such as weather or injuries. However, when times get tough, he'll use the motivation of others to continue moving forward.
"I was deployed six times," Drasher said. "I think about the wins and the failures we've had. I think about the men and women on the ground. I think about the wounded warriors."
To learn more about Operation 720, click https://fundraise.woundedwarriorproject.org/RTT/Fundraising/individual/24004102