When this week’s Hero of the Game shows up for the first kick ahead of the Houston Dynamo’s matchup against the Colorado Rapids, don't judge him if he is a little out of breath.
Earl Lundy, a former U.S. Army paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne and this week’s Hero of the Game, will be arriving to PNC Stadium having just completed a 240-mile journey from San Antonio to Houston by biking, rucking and kayaking.
For Lundy, this grueling journey is a way to inspire veterans who are dealing with the harsh realities of adjusting back to civilian life.
“I just want to have a platform where I can empower and motivate veterans, and no matter what things that they may be going through or dealing with as far as physical or mental challenges, I just want to show that you're not in this fight alone,” Lundy said. “The reason I bike, kayak and ruck is they're three different types of trainings. I just want to let people know we're all going to go through those different fates of life, and each one you have to adjust to.”
All of the proceeds raised as a part of Lundy’s voyage will be donated to Combined Arms, a charity that Lundy works with that brings together veteran-focused nonprofits and offers resources for veterans to access their services.
Lundy works with the Combined Arms Gym in particular, helping veterans work on both their physical and mental wellbeing, both of which he found to be incredibly valuable when he was medically discharged from the Army. Lundy suffered multiple injuries while serving in Afghanistan, and it was this experience that inspired him to give back to others who served.
“I had a full body injury, lower-back, left leg, right shoulder nerve damage and a TBI as well,” Lundy said. “Through therapy and physical fitness, that's what helped saved my life. So, I wanted to offer that same help for veterans.”
The third-generation paratrooper understands that not everyone can travel 240 miles to help support veterans, as he does. Yet, he wants everyone to recognize that they can contribute something, whether that be time or money.
“I would suggest just getting involved in organizations that are meeting the needs of veterans,” Lundy said. “Myself, I got involved with not just Combined Arms, but also other organizations within our network. Whether it be volunteering their time or giving funding to help support these organization so they can continue to give back to these veterans in a substantial way.”
To learn more about everything that Combined Arms does, and the different ways you can get involved, visit www.CombinedArms.us.