Posted on 05.28.2021

Shepherd’s Men Honor Charlie Daniels and Gary’s Story #End22

*Disclaimer * I blew it. When I wrote about the Shepherd's Men event in Atlanta in early April, I basically covered the event itself, how the evening unfolded, and a little history of Shepherd’s Men and what they are about, but I failed to get to the meat of the Shepherd Center and the SHARE Military Initiative that gave birth to the Shepherd’s Men. It won’t happen again, in fact, this may be the most important soapbox have written, or may ever write. That may sound dramatic, but the absolute truth is that lives depend on it. - CD, Jr.

Thursday, May 27th, 2021.

At approximately 8:30, I arrived at Mt. Juliet Memorial Gardens, where the mortal shell that once housed my beloved father now resides. There were more cars and trucks and people there that day than probably since we buried dad in July.

The conglomeration of CDB family and friend, including my mom, Mt. Juliet’s finest, and a determined group of men and one woman who were about to embark on a very difficult journey. The Shepherd’s Men were about to ruck – essentially a run/march – fifteen miles from dad’s grave to Sammy B's Restaurant in Lebanon, carrying eighty-three lbs. in a backpack, symbolizing dad’s eighty-three years on earth.

That’s almost four times what they normally do for their Shepherd’s Men Run, normally beginning on May 22nd, they run twenty-two kilometers in different towns across the country with an extra twenty-two lbs. to bring awareness to the most tragic of statistics, that twenty-two of our United States veterans commit suicide every day.

One every sixty-five minutes.

The Shepherd Center in Atlanta’s SHARE Military Initiative -which treats PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries - inspired Travis Ellis and Troy Campbell to launch Shepherd’s Men to raise awareness of the heartbreaking number of veteran suicides.

With my mom and I, the issue is close to our hearts, as it was for dad. He tweeted every day about the 22 vet suicides, and his charity, The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project works with other nonprofit groups like Shepherd’s Men, as well as partners with the Predators Foundation and MTSU in helping fund The General’s Fund and The Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Families Center at MTSU.

Travis and the rest of the men and women took off in what was to be a very warm and fairly humid sunny day.

I did some work at my office, then went to Sammy B’s in Lebanon which was essentially the finish line. I would have collapsed after the first half mile or so, but I don’t think they lost anyone along the way.

Things moved inside where Travis spoke and many people said great things about dad.

It’s always humbling when people honor my father, and I don’t mean to diminish what these people did today, but honoring dad isn’t what was important.

This is.

The highlight of the afternoon was a short speech from Gary Herber, a graduate of the Shepherd’s Men program. Gary served in Afghanistan for four and a half years, and his platoon’s motto was “24 Death Dealers,” for the 24 members of his platoon.

By some miracle, 24 went to Afghanistan together, and 24 came back home.

Praise the Lord.

Now they’re down to only 20.

As Gary put it, “What we refused to let the enemy do to us, we’ve done to ourselves.”

Gary said he doesn’t have all the answers, but he knew what the answer was for him. In 2016, he went to the Shepherd Center from August through November and was a completely different man when he left than he was when he entered the program.

He said he still had things he was dealing with, he still had pains, but what made him different was that now he had a purpose in life.

In his words, “I had a reason to wake up in the morning. I had somebody else to fight for… again.”

He says that their war is now here. The war against this epidemic among our heroes.

The SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center is helping men and women who fought for our freedom and came home hurt and defeated. They are leaving the program ready to fight.

He said the al-Qaeda and the Taliban were never as strong as the enemy of veteran suicide has been.

I spoke with Gary and asked him if I could tell his story, and he unequivocally said yes. To please get his story out to as many people as possible.

The festivities continued with performances by Darryl Worley, and songwriter Chuck Jones – a former co-writer of dad’s from the mid-nineties - who has been working with veterans as part of Operation Song, which allows vets to collaborate with songwriters to give voice to their struggles.

Darryl gave a spoken preview about a powerful new song he was working on about the veteran suicide epidemic, another song fitting song called “Just Came Back From a War,” a beautiful new Christian song called “Building Me Back,” and, of course, “Have You Forgotten.”

Darryl said that he and dad talked about this, and dad said “We can’t wait on the government.”

Dad hit the nail squarely on the head, as usual.

This isn’t a problem our government is going to fix. They either can’t fix, or cause way too many problems as it is.

No, this is up to us to join this fight.

It’s a fight that Gary, Travis, Troy and many others are willing to take up, but they need our help. To borrow a much over-used phrase from the past year, “We’re all in this together.”

These heroes fought for our freedom and to protect our nation, to keep the fight over there, and keep it from coming back here again.

It goes without saying that twenty-two veteran suicides a day is twenty-two too many.

Anyone taking their life is tragic, and I pray one day that we’ll see an end to any and all suicides, and I don’t have the answer for all circumstances.

But I do know that Shepherd’s Men, the SHARE Military initiative, and the Shepherd Center give our veterans a much-needed fighting chance.

A chance to live and fight… again.

They need our help, plain and simple, so please, let’s help.

As dad has said many times, we owe our military an unpayable debt of gratitude.

I promised Gary I would get his story out.

I got your six, Gary.

Thank you and God bless you for your service.

Semper Fidelis

De Oppresso Liber

Donate to Shepherd's Men Here

Let’s all make the day count!

What do you think?

Pray for our troops, our police, our nation and for the peace of Jerusalem

God Bless America!

#BenghaziAintGoingAway #End22

—  Charlie Daniels, Jr.



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God Bless em All
Amen, Amen & Amen Charlie Jr, God Bless each and every American who is or has served in the military, this is the weekend to remember those who gave all. As your dad said numerous times " Only Two Things Protect America–The Grace of Almighty God and the US Military" We are living in perilous times Second Timothy KJV Chapter 3 vs1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; We have a democratic party trying to takes us to communism and has taken another mask off, not only are they against the black man but they now openly are Jew haters. They openly have an agenda to get conservatives out of the military by mislabeling them as extremists and racists, the Commander In Chief, son was kicked out of the US Navy for Cocaine use, remember the fruit does not fall far from the tree.....wokeness and political correctness be damned.....nuff said God Bless Plowboy
Posted by Plowboy
Shepherd's Men
Our military, those who serve and those that have served, is one of our most precious assets. They deserve every bit of assistance that we can muster. If we hope to remain a shining beacon for the rest of the world, we must take care of these that answered the call to serve, not only during their time in service but for the remainder of their lives. We owe a huge debt of gratitude that we can never begin to repay. My donation to Shepherd's Men has been given. Thank you Junior for keeping these things that your father was passionate about on the front burner. Mark in Shelbyville
Posted by Mark
WHEN I THINK OF GREAT PATRIOTIC AMERICANS, I ALWAYS think about Charlie Daniels, John "The Duke" Wayne, Ronald Regan, Gary Sinise and now Donald Trump, THEY ALL TRULY LOVE or LOVED AMERICA AND FREEDOM.....
Posted by John