Retired Vet Runs Over 2,100 Miles to Raise Money for Marine Non-Profit

by Quentin Blount

Retired vet Gary Dolloff had an initial goal to raise $3,000 for the Operation Reboot Outdoors nonprofit. He ended up raising more than $36,000.

Operation Reboot Outdoors (ORO) is a nonprofit organization that helps military veterans get involved in outdoor activities like fishing and hunting once they come home from serving. Gary Dolloff is a retired vet who strongly supports the cause. So much so, in fact, that he decided he would start running to raise money.

“I ran outside every single day, averaging six miles a day,” Dolloff told 13WGME. “I never missed a day.”

With that said, he does remember one day, in particular, that wasn’t so kind to him. It was actually the second day of the year.

“I was running around the high school parking lot trying to get miles in somewhere off the road. And I hit a patch of ice. I went flying on my back, laid on the ground, pulled my hamstring, and tore my knee up.”

Retired Vet Inspired by Double Amputee

You would think that being a military veteran would give you all the drive you need in life. And perhaps that’s the case, but for Gary Dolloff, he finds inspiration in his friends Kenny and Dan.

“Kenny is a double amputee and if he can get in the gym and get on a treadmill — his everyday life is so much harder than what I have. And I just want to help people like Kenny and people like Dan to help veterans and to get back in the world.”

Kenny — whose full name is Kenneth Blaisdell — served in the army for three years. He first got in touch with ORO after losing his legs in a sledding accident and a car accident.

“The moment I pulled in this driveway before I even knew anyone, I felt like family,” Blaisdell said. “I met so many people and it showed me that I can do whatever I put my mind to with all my brothers and sisters helping me.”

So, what will all of the money raised be going to? Dolloff explained that it will help veterans like Kenny at its new ADA-compliant site.

“I’m one person. And if you think there’s a challenge, that’s tough, but you want to try it, go and try it,” Dolloff said. “You’re never going to know if you can finish it or get through it. But I can tell your mind is stronger than your body sometimes.”

The founder of the organization, Daniel Waite, served in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2004 and 2007, respectively. He says they are doing so well because of guys with big hearts like Gary Dolloff.

“The campaign is going very well because generous guys who have big hearts like Gary Dolloff who step up and see our hard work and what we do.”