By SGT Awesome An Open Letter To Army Chief of Staff, General...
Hero of the Week: CPT Chad Maddox
By RU Contributor Yeti
The military forges friendships and bonds that last through even the toughest of times. The relationship between Army Captains Chad Maddox and Greg Galeazzi is a perfect example of those friendships and the sacrifice that one will make for the other.
On November 17th, Captain Chad Maddox will take on the JFK 50 Mile Challenge to help raise funds for Captain Greg Galeazzi. On May 26th, 2011 Greg was seriously wounded while conducting a dismounted patrol in Kandahar Province. The blast caused severe injuries to his legs, requiring above the knee amputations on both limbs, and his right arm was critically damaged. Greg has since been moved to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, where he continues his long road to recovery. With the support of his family, girlfriend, and now CPT Maddox, Greg is doing well but still faces a long road to recovery. The following is an interview with CPT Maddox and what it means to “leave no Soldier behind.”
I commissioned into the Infantry in 2004 from Loyola University in Maryland. I have served in the 10th Mountain Division, 1st Ranger Battalion, 170th IBCT, and am now serving in the 5th Ranger Training Battalion. I’ve deployed once to Afghanistan and four times to Iraq. I’m from Virginia. I have an awesome wife that is due to give birth to our first boy in December. We have a dingo named Roxy. I enjoy drinking beer, seeking out adventure, and finding new challenges. The latter are typically more enjoyable with a frosty beer.
You are raising money for the Captain Greg Galeazzi Recovery Fund, can you expand on your relationship with Greg and how you got involved?
Greg and I both commissioned into the Infantry through the Loyola University in Maryland ROTC program. He is the younger brother of one of my best friends, and a guy that I commissioned with in 2004. I was deployed to Afghanistan at the same time that Greg was injured, and found out about Greg through my friend. Obviously that hit home. I’ve wanted to help Greg since I found out what happened, but didn’t know the best way. I was talking to my friend earlier this year about Greg and his progress, and thought to myself that I just needed to step up and do something. I knew that one of Greg’s goals was to hike the AT, and remembered that the first 13 miles of the JFK 50-miler is on the AT. I thought that it would be fitting if I used my legs to get him through the first 13 miles of his trek. Hence the name- Greg’s Legs. I brought the idea up to Greg in August when I visited him and his brother in Texas. Once he approved it, I was off and running. Pun intended.
You have raised over $3500, what is the money used for and what is your new goal?
I am pumped to have raised so much money so far. I originally set a goal of $2500, but through the generous donations of friends and family, I beat that goal in two weeks (thank you to everyone who has donated so far). My goal now is to raise as much money as possible between now and the race day, November 17th. That being said, if the donations break $6000 I plan on carrying an American flag for the last four miles of the race.
Why four miles?
That’s one of the four areas that my brother can meet me along the route. The flag has been to Iraq, Afghanistan, Normandy, Germany, in an F-16, a Chinook, a Blackhawk, and many other places. Plus, Old Glory is awesome, and deserves a prominent place in an event like this. After I complete the race (drink a beer and wash the stank off) I will transfer all of the funds to Greg’s Recovery Fund. The intent of the money is to help with Greg’s long term recovery. How the money will be used is up to Greg. He is the only person that can determine that.
Tell me about your training routine?
I have been mixing increasingly longer runs with local races. The local races add some fun to the routine, especially the challenging races like the mud runs and the recent Currahee Challenge. The longer runs help prepare my body for the strain of the 50-miles, but they also help me prepare mentally. The hardest part of the ultra, in my mind, isn’t running, it’s maintaining the mental endurance to will your body to fight weakness. Your body can always go further- it just needs a pep talk from your mind to keep going.
What advice would you offer someone who is interested in getting into ultra-distance running or other endurance races?
Find a buddy with the same interest. Having a partner in crime will get you through a physically demanding and mentally exhausting event with much more ease. Then do some research. Just remember to find what works for you instead of blindly believing the hype.
How can we help you reach your goals?
My motivation for linking the 50-miler to Greg’s Recovery Fund is twofold. First, and most obvious, is to raise money for Greg’s long term recovery through PayPal donations on www.gregslegs.blogspot.com. Secondly, and equally as important, is to raise awareness about Greg’s situation and garner additional support for him as he continues through his rehabilitation and recovery. Sometimes a kind word can stretch a lot further than a buck. Greg has plenty of obstacles that require strength and motivation to power through, and a phone call or message might help him get through the obstacles with more vigor. Hopefully more people will want to donate monetarily to the cause or will send Greg a note on his webpage after hearing Greg’s story.
So what’s next on the horizon for you? Are you planning any future events?
I am running in the Army Ten-Miler on October 21st in DC, and the Atlanta Marathon on October 28th. I post all the interesting aspects of my train-up on www.gregslegs.blogspot.com so that everyone can keep track of it, and follow Greg’s blog posts from www.cptgaleazzi.com. I also have a FB page (search Greg’s Legs) that I update with links to new blog entries.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Greg has an incredible support group in the form of his family and girlfriend. His mother and brother moved to Texas to be with him through all of this. CPT Maddox brought up their role in Greg’s life several times and their support should not be over-shadowed.