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Commemorating 9/11: local Green Beret to lead 50-mile ruck through New York City

Photo Courtesy of Chad Conley

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- To commemorate the 20th anniversary of September 11th, 2001, and show support for our troops, Master Sergeant Chad Conley of Fort Carson will lead a 50-mile ruck march through New York City.

Conley told 9/11 changed the course of his life.

"My first day of college was 9/11," he said. Two years later, he enlisted in the military.

"I joined in 2003 because I always had that calling to do this, and I wanted to do something more," said Conley.

Conley is an active-duty Green Beret stationed at Fort Carson. In 2020, he organized 50 for the Fallen, a fundraising campaign designed to honor the lives of those lost on 9/11.

Last year, Conley trekked 50 miles through Colorado Springs.

"In special operations, we find solace in suffering, and that’s not a bad thing it’s a way for us to mentally and emotionally heal," said Conley.

This year, Conley is heading to New York City, along with active-duty and veteran Special Operation Forces and New York First Responders.

"All of them joined after September 11, so we’ve all been affected by the global war on terror," said Conley.

Their ruck will go 50 miles through New York City. The group will start Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Yankee Stadium and end on Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. at the World Trade Center.

Conley says will be a time to reflect and talk through their experiences without distractions. No music is allowed.

"Then they can’t hide. It’s just going to be them, it’s going to us, and we’re going to just talk and move. I think the more that they’re able to understand that 'hey I don’t need to hide anything.' At some point they’re just going to come out and be who they are," said Conley.

Conley says he wants this to be a community event and effort.

"It’s a way for us to celebrate those who have fallen and understand that it’s okay to miss them. It’s okay to mourn them, but let's also celebrate the lives and how they impacted us," said Conley.

The 30 service members will be dressed in 50 For The Fallen shirts while carrying their packs and equipment, weighing over 50 pounds throughout the ruck march.

The two nonprofits benefiting from this fundraising campaign are The Special Operations Warrior Foundation and the Ray Pfeifer Foundation. All the donated proceeds will go directly supports the families of the fallen.  

To find out more about 50 for The Fallen you can visit their website. The ruck will be broadcast live on Instagram.

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Jessica Gruenling

Jessica is a reporter for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about her here.

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