"The why is personal." —Keith Bridges, founder
After returning from a 7 month deployment to Fallujah Iraq, I, along with a few fellow Marines, volunteered for a second deployment, in an effort to help augment the lack of experience within the Marines deploying. This deployment was scheduled to depart only 5 short months after our return to CONUS. Nevertheless, we were motivated and eager to get back in theater.
I remember standing in front of six families, promising to bring their young Marines home. However, on April 2, 2005, I failed to keep that promise...our 1st casualty of the deployment was one of my young Warriors, Lcpl Tenzin Dengkhim.
Several years later while deployed to Afghanistan, I told my wife that I felt our fallen service members were being forgotten. Two weeks after returning home, I decided to honor Lcpl Dengkhim by Rucking (with a 45lb ruck) in a 50K on the Ruby Jack Trail in Carthage, Missouri, To my surprise, the media picked up the story, and before long, over 30,000 people took notice of the name and the sacrifice of Lcpl Dengkhim.
On July 16, 2019, I established Rucking2Remember in hopes that more of our nation's heroes, like Lcpl Dengkhim, would NEVER be FORGOTTEN.
MAY WE NEVER FORGET!
Keith is a Marine Corps Veteran, having served from 1998 - 2006. During his time with the Marines he would deploy to the Mediterranean in support of our Nation’s interest, as well as deployments to Iraq in 2004/2005 in support of OIF. In August of 2006, Keith would EAS from active duty. Upon his return home to Missouri, he went on to serve 5 years with the Fire department, before attending the Law Enforcement Academy at Drury University. Prior to completing the Academy, Keith received a contract to deploy to Afghanistan in support of the U.S. Diplomatic mission, where he served in that capacity from 2013 on.
Keith Founded Rucking 2 Remember in 2015, yet it wasn’t until July of 2019 the organization would become a Nonprofit, recognized as a 501(c)(3) and registered with the Secretary of State.
Frank Carter retired from the United States Marine Corps in 2015 with nearly 26 years of service. During his career, he was fortunate to be stationed overseas in Africa, South America, the Balkans, and Okinawa. The majority of his operational time was spent with ground and mounted reconnaissance units and participated in named operations in Eastern Europe and Southwest and Central Asia and security missions in Central America. At his retirement from the active ranks, he was a Chief Warrant Officer-3 (Gunner) and served as an Infantry Weapons Officer (Marine Gunner).
Frank and his family retired to Tennessee. From 2016–2018, he attended Lipscomb University (Nashville, TN) and studied Environmental and Sustainable Sciences (Biology emphasis). Since 2018, he has worked with a home performance company focusing on project development and project management. Frank and his wife, Marcy, have three children.
Nikki is a police officer and received her Post A certification from Drury Law Enforcement Academy (Springfield, MO). Nikki is actively involved in the Crisis Intervention Team within her department for those who would benefit in behavioral health, as well as resources for the homeless and veterans in crisis. Nikki assists in the planning and organization of the R2R team events and fundraisers and travels to present scholarships to the families of the fallen service members to be honored.
Steve was born and raised in Upstate NY and made the move to Missouri 12 years ago. He is now a proud Springfield resident and shares his life with his wife and three children, Anthony (9), Victoria (7) and Rose (6 months). Steve has worked within the restaurant industry for the past 20 years and currently operates as an Area Manager for Bricktown Brewery. When he’s not spending time with his family or at work, he enjoys being outdoors either hiking or floating.
Todd D. Wright, PhD is a native of Southwest Missouri and currently serves as a front office executive for the Springfield Cardinals, the Double-A Affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.Wright has a passion for community and has spent his entire professional career investing in the lives of people. He works tirelessly in his efforts to promote diversity and unity through experiences and ideas which leads to a more cooperative culture.Wright graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree from Messenger College, where he also earned All-America honors as a member of the men’s basketball program. He went on to earn a master’s degree, and a Ph.D. degree at Midwest Theological University.Todd and his wife Ginger have three children.
Liz is a 2020 graduate from Weaubleau Missouri. She is currently a student at Crowder College. Liz maintains a profession as a Corrections Officer, with plans to join the Law Enforcement Academy at Drury University.
Brandon is a certified athletic trainer for Mercy Health Systems (Springfield, MO). He currently serves as the Education Director for Sports Medicine where the collaborative focus is on the complete care of pediatric/adolescent athletes as well as the general public. For seven years, he served as the manager of the Sports Medicine facility where he led both the clinical therapy team as well as the sports performance team. In 2019, the facility, staffed entirely by ATCs, saw 16,000 combined rehab patients and performance athletes.
Brandon received his bachelor's degree in Sports Medicine from Missouri State University and his master's degree in Human Performance from Oklahoma State University. After his formal education, he completed a Fellowship at the Olympic Training Center (Colorado Springs, CO) where he spent the bulk of his time with the combat athletes and Olympic weightlifting team. Brandon holds several certifications and advanced credentials in the fitness and sports medicine fields.
Mikel Cox is from Southwest Missouri and currently lives in Nixa, Missouri, with his wife and two dogs. Mikel loves fitness and being outdoors. He is currently a sports medicine therapist with Mercy Health Tracks (Springfield, MO).
A nonprofit is as strong as the community that holds it up. Together, we can do more than we can do alone. Let's bring our abilities and passions together to affect real change.
There are many ways to join us and support our mission. Contact us to find out more about volunteer opportunities, fundraising events, and ways that you can get our message to your friends and family.
Making the mission possible!