By Airman 1st Class Luke W. Nowakowski, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs / Published October 26, 2015
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series. These stories focus on individual Airmen, highlighting their Air Force story.)
A 2nd Space Warning Squadron first sergeant accomplished his goal of running 720 miles in 30 days from Aurora, Colorado, to Abilene, Texas, in order to raise money and awareness for wounded warriors.
"The moment this idea came to me, it seemed crazy," 1st Sgt. Troy Drasher said of his Operation 720. "With all the training, planning and preparation, it started to become a reality. Running the 720 miles and eventually crossing that finish line, all while attaining my original goals with the Wounded Warrior Project, I learned that no matter how far we dream, anything is possible.”
Drasher's story has gained national attention, appearing on both national and local TV networks. Drasher had no idea that he would get the kind of exposure he has gotten since the completion of the run, but is happy that he has been able to spread the word about the Wounded Warrior Project on such an expansive level, he said.
To put the run Drasher endured into perspective, the run portion of the Air Force physical fitness test is 1 1/2 miles. On average, Drasher was running 24 miles a day, which means he was running an average of 16 Air Force physical fitness tests a day for 30 days straight. At the end of 30 days, Drasher had completed 480 physical fitness tests.
When asked what kept him going, Drasher replied, "Too many things to capture them all. Friends and family were very supportive. There were countless messages of prayer, strength and well wishes sent across Facebook that really helped when my fuel tank was low. Everyone that came out to show support along the way definitely helped as well.
“Most importantly, there were all the countless hours where I was just left with my thoughts about our wounded warriors. They sacrificed so much for us all, there was no way that I could walk away from this and let them down. One stride at a time, one mile at a time."
Drasher's expectations for Operation 720 before taking off in mid-September were to raise upwards of $5,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, but most importantly, to raise awareness that there are still service men and women in America that need help more than ever.
Saying Operation 720 has outdone those initial expectations is an understatement.
"From a financial perspective, Operation 720 more than doubled its goal with over $13,000 raised for the Wounded Warrior Project," Drasher said. "The other side of this mission was to raise awareness. While this can be difficult to truly measure, I have no doubt that with the help of everyone rallying behind our wounded warriors along the way, this goal was achieved. There were men, women and children that came out to show support in person, thousands following along on Facebook, and various media outlets helping with coverage. By the end of things, Operation 720 was even blessed with a live interview on the national news station Fox, America's news network."
At the end of such a successful mission, Drasher hopes that his accomplishment shows others that they can make a difference by bringing awareness to issues they feel passionate about.
"What I really hope is that it has changed someone else," he said. "Not just in the original goals of Operation 720 and the Wounded Warrior Project, but in the way that maybe someone else has a passion and would like to try and make a difference. I think that we all have dreams, and it would be nice to think that maybe someone read about this journey and decided to look in their heart, find their passion, and try to bring a dream to fruition."