Shepherd’s Men return to Johnson City

A group of local runners joined the Shepherd’s Men on a 22k run through Johnson City designed to raise funds and awareness for the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. The Shepherd Center has a program designed to help veterans recover from traumatic brain injuries. PHOTO BY DAVE ONGIE

By Dave Ongie, News Editor

For the second year in a row, the Shepherd’s Men visited Johnson City during their seven-day campaign that ends at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. The group completed a 22K run through Johnson City last Friday morning, braving the heat to raise money and awareness for the Shepherd Center’s SHARE program that helps veterans recover from traumatic brain injuries sustained in battle.

Their run ended in the parking lot of TruPoint Bank, where several members of the community turned out to support the Shepherd’s Men and those from our community who ran along with them.

In just their second year in Johnson City, the mission of the Shepherd’s Men is starting to grow roots in the community. Co-founder Travis Ellis said he was recognized by a Vietnam veteran during last Friday’s run, and the man was well-versed on the work the organization is trying to accomplish for those struggling with the aftermath of brain injuries sustained in post-9/11 conflicts.

Gary Herber is a prime example of the work being done at the Shepherd Center. Herber was in Johnson City last Friday with the Shepherd’s Men after graduation from the SHARE program about two and a half years ago. Herber was a sergeant in the United States Army, and he was struggling mightily before going through the program.

“They helped me piece my life back together,” Herber said. I was more than an absolute mess. I was in shambles when they found me, and here I am – I’m back on the front lines. I’m back fighting for my country and fighting for my fellow veterans.”


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