Executive Consultant Joe “Gusto” Connolly leads a team on a month-long mission to draw support for transitioning veterans
Afterburner team members are always looking for ways to give back to their communities, especially fellow service members and veterans. You don’t need to look far to find one of these opportunities, and that’s just what Afterburner Executive Consultant and former Army Ranger, Joe “Gusto” Connolly did.
Each February, Gusto leads a team of family and friends in the annual Run Ranger Run fundraising event, a 565 mile run founded in 2013 to bring awareness to the pre- and post-transition challenges of veterans. Gusto and his team participate in honor of Gusto’s brother, Major David Connolly, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. This event gives the team of friends and family an opportunity to support fellow service members in David’s memory.
Run Ranger Run’s first 565-mile trek was made by founder and former 3rd Ranger Battalion member, USA Cpl. Corey Smith, in 2012 as he made his way home to Indianapolis from Columbus, Georgia. It was his return from two combat deployments that drove his desire to bring attention to the difficult journey home that many veterans face. The run and its purpose quickly gained attention and grew into an annual fundraising event with international participation.
The run benefits the veteran support group GallantFew, whose mission is “to prevent veteran isolation by connecting new veterans with hometown veteran mentors, thereby facilitating a peaceful, successful transition from military service to a civilian life filled with hope and purpose.” The organization supports veterans in numerous ways, including post-transition employment and providing resources to help veterans cope with the new and changing stressors associated with military transition.
For his part, Gusto runs each and every morning in support of his team’s goal of 565 miles. But more importantly, he lives the warrior ethos for those who served before him, with him and those who will serve after him.