Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Culture

Through Running, A Veteran Gives Back To Wounded Warriors

Greg Ducker raises money through everydayhero to give back to injured veterans and their families.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

When Greg Ducker was growing up in Canton, Ohio, he and his grandpa spent a lot of time together. Greg always noticed two distinctive objects in his grandfather’s possessions: a neatly folded American flag and an old Navy Sailor’s uniform. Throughout the hours, days, and weeks they spent together, Greg’s desire to join the Navy as a sailor grew—to carry on his family’s history of service and to be “someone bigger” than himself.

Greg recalls the excitement of joining the Navy after high school: “It was an opportunity to see the world and it didn’t hurt to get paid to do it. After high school, I joined the Navy, got to travel, and went on a bunch of deployments. I saw many different countries, met a lot of great people, and had a blast with it. I was in the Navy for four years.”

In 2008, when Greg was twenty-two, he sustained a life-changing injury and received an honorable discharge. When he returned home, The Wounded Warriors Project, a charity that helps injured veterans and their families, became a community that helped Greg adjust: “The veterans in the Wounded Warriors Project prove that they can do anything that anyone else can do. They’ve empowered me.”

After serving in the Navy, Greg decided to commit his life to working with veterans. In Virginia Beach, Virginia, he works for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs as a specialist in prosthetics: “Through my job, I meet people day in and day out who go through struggles with prosthetics. I make sure veterans who are injured get a limb to improve their quality of life.”

As a veteran himself, Greg deeply connects with the people he helps and knows the struggles that service men and women face on a daily basis. “We swap stories. They learn something about me and they tell me something about them. My work has gotten me to look at wounded warriors in a different light. It made me realize how life is fleeting. There is only so much I can do in my life.” This realization made Greg want to do more for veterans and their families.

Greg decided to fulfill two of his goals: making an even greater difference for veterans and running a half marathon. Completing these goals was daunting at first. “I ran my last 10k two years ago. I have a wife and three kids at home, so I don’t have a lot of free time. I owe a lot to my wife, Diana, who nudges me to go running even if I’m tired or stressed.”

Greg got reinvigorated to train when he found out he could fundraise for The Wounded Warrior Project by running the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon. “Having the ability and means to support the Wounded Warrior Project was the reason I took this challenge on.”

The Wounded Warrior Project does more than just help veterans physically and mentally. One of the reasons Greg is so inspired by this organization is that they help families. “The wounded veteran’s family’s whole life may have been turned upside down.”

Working with veteran’s everyday allows Greg to have perspective on the trails that both service people and families face: “When we join the service, we sign a blank check for the cost of our lives. We do whatever it takes. You don’t get over it, and you don’t forget. To give back to a charity that helps veterans with those challenges, appreciates what we did, and says ‘we have not forgotten you’ is amazing.” Greg’s greatest wish is to empower other injured veterans do lead amazing, fulfilling lives with their families.

When Greg’s three small children realize that their dad gives back in profound ways, they will want to carry on the family tradition, just like Greg did. Greg’s grandpa would be so proud to know the impact that Greg makes everyday helping those who have served in our nation’s armed forces.

How will you inspire others to do amazing things? What can you do to be bigger than yourself? Find a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon near you and register today to Run ‘n’ Raise for the charity or cause that is closest to your heart.

About everydayhero

everydayhero is a platform that is transforming how people give to the causes they care about most and is official fundraising partner to more than 18 events in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. We believe far more goes into giving than just money. We enable everyday people to see and track the real impact of the time, effort, voice and money that they give to charity has on their personal Giving Footprint™. Designed to enrich the giving experience and make it more meaningful, The Giving Footprint™ provides real-time and ongoing feedback and acknowledgement to those supporting charity, inside their everydayhero account, so they can see the real difference their actions and efforts are making.