Preface: After writing this AAR I feel like I need to preface it. I won’t be talking much about all of the awesome stuff we did during the event (unlike my other AARs which are very detailed) but will focus on why this event kicked so much ass.
The Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) Custom GORUCK Light event was phenomenal on so many different levels. First off it was at Joint Base Lewis McChord which is a location I’ve never been to let alone done an event at. Secondly it was a huge fundraiser for the Green Beret Foundation (GBF) and 100% of the entry fee went to them. Yes… you heard that right every single penny in that entry fee went to charity. Third: there were TWO cadre. We had the always amazing Cadre John (aka Big Daddy) supporting Lead Cadre Rich. Rich lives on base and put this event together to benefit his Green Beret friend whose wife has brain cancer. This leads me to the fourth awesome thing about this event which is that TRVLSQD went crazy above and beyond the call here and raised a ton of money to support the family. The fifth (and final) piece of greatness is that there was an impromptu auction of factory second GORUCK gear after the event with 100% of the proceeds going to the Green Beret Foundation. I was able to pick up a 20 lb. GOUCK Sandbag for the sweet price of $25 which is so cheap even my wife can’t be mad at me.
Joint Base Lewis McChord
I’ve never been on a military base before. That may come as a surprise but it’s the truth… this was my first time on a base. Getting on was a breeze as one of our GRT brothers had supplied the welcome center with a list who would be showing up. The inside of the base was like its own town complete with stores, restaurants, and everything else. I don’t know what I expected but I’m just glad I was able to go there and even more glad to do an event there. If there’s a GORUCK event in your area on a base I highly suggest signing up for it.
Green Beret Foundation Fundraiser
Like I said in the opening the entire event was a fundraiser for the GBF. The entry fee was $75 and there were 54 of us signed up so if my math serves me right we raised $4,050 from entry fees alone for the GBF. One of the 54 people participating in the event was the woman who started the Green Beret Foundation back in 2009. I was lucky enough to find her while we were rucking and talk with her about the process of setting everything up, what she does, and what she plans on doing. There are a lot of people out there who truly care about their fellow human beings and it’s just great to be able to talk to them. Volunteering and giving back is a decent part of my life and I love hearing stories from people who also think it’s important.
Cadre Rich and Big Daddy brought the heat and were relentless for the majority of the event. The only real downtime we had was when we were paying our respects to fallen soldiers. Cadre Rich lead the way ensuring everyone in the front was keeping their pace up and busting ass while Big Daddy went up and down the lines dealing with stragglers and those in back.
Every single puddle we passed depending on the size one of two things would happen. Either two or three people would have to do PT in the puddles or Big Daddy would kick as much water at the people passing by as he could. I don’t think we ever dried off and Big Daddy even commented to me that my “quick dry water pants would never fully dry today.” It was great having double the eyes on us as absolutely no one was able to slack or hide in the back.
One of the major points that the founder of the GBF wanted to make known is that civilians care. We (being civilians) will never understand what it is that people in our military go through… we will never be able to fully relate on that level. Even though we can’t understand that doesn’t mean we don’t care and I think that’s huge. We do care… we care a lot. Fergus made it a point to show that TRVLSQD does care and put together a huge surprise for Cadre Rich’s friend’s family. I’m keeping names out of this because I haven’t asked permission but that’s OK. You don’t really need the info unless you’re the praying type but God will know where to direct your prayers so you’re solid. Fergus put so much time and effort into this surprise and it was truly special. There are three children in the family and each received a ruck from GORUCK, a corresponding field pouch, and a custom made patch with their name for their ruck. In addition our team weight was a truck that was given to their family at the end. We did our absolute best to keep it free of damage during the event and I’m happy to say that it ended in perfect working condition. Finally a ton of TRVLSQD members went out of their way to raise donations for this family and that was all presented to the father at the end in a check. There was so much emotion in that moment and it made the event what it was.
Finally after everything was over Cadre Rich brought out a box of factory seconds from GORUCK. There were two 20 lb. sandbags, one Kit Bag, one Radio Ruck, and two GR1s. With the auction 100% of the proceeds were going to the Green Beret Foundation but unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) not many people stayed around for it. The Radio Ruck went for $80 and the two GR1s went for $100 a piece. I got involved in a bidding war over the Kit Bag and ended up losing it to a good friend at the $50 price point. The final items were the two sandbags and I ended up winning one of those for $25. The auction was a blast and I think GORUCK could raise a lot of money if they continued doing something like this after events. Pull out a few pieces of factory second gear and raise money for charity. I think if it had been promoted more there would have been a lot more people with money but we weren’t made aware of it until the night before. Thankfully I was able to stop by a bank on the way down and withdraw some cash.
Overall the event was perfect… on every level. I almost didn’t sign up for this because the week after I was signed up to run the full Portland Marathon. I’ve run one marathon before but it was an absolute nightmare and ended with me crossing the finish line, getting iced up, and not being able to run for weeks. I am so glad I said screw it to common sense and signed up for this custom Light. I’m actually writing this on the drive down to Portland so you’ll have to read my Portland Race Report (once I finish it) to see how that all turned out.