A Navy hospital corpsman at Camp Pendleton in California helped raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project by rucking 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) while wearing a full stormtrooper armor.
Not-so-evil Imperial stormtrooper: Jeffry Priela, a 38-year-old Carlsbad resident, took to his Facebook on August 25 to announce his small fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project Carry Forward 5k.
- To gain more attention to his cause, Priela went rucking — a fast march while carrying a weight — along Highway 101 in Carlsbad dressed as a stormtrooper on the early morning of August 30, according to The San Diego Tribune.
- The experience, in his own description, was “uncomfortable as hell” as the armor has poor ventilation, heavy and inflexible.
- “But people are usually taken in by the spectacle in general, so when they see an Imperial stormtrooper strutting away in their neighborhood, they stop and are genuinely interested,” Priela, who is an avid “Star Wars” fan, added. “Once they see my social media, they then get diverted to my fundraising platforms.”
- Priela has so far raised $35 out of his $300 goal on the project’s website.
Who is Jeffry Priela: A second-generation U.S. serviceman, Priela was inspired to join the Navy after becoming hooked on the TV series “M*A*S*H,” which follows the story of Army medics in the Korean war.
- Joining the Navy 14 years ago, Priela is the youngest of 10 siblings and his Filipino father fought for the country during World War II.
- Priela proudly accepted the Congressional Gold Medals to Filipino veterans in 2017 on his father’s behalf, who passed away in 2012.
- In addition to the Wounded Warrior Project, Priela also helped raise thousands of dollars for other campaigns, such as military, veterans, anti-violence, LGBTQ and local causes.
What is Wounded Warrior Project: The project’s mission aims to “honor and empower wounded warriors — and Carry Forward is your chance to put that mission in motion at one of the most powerful, one-of-a-kind events you’ll ever experience,” the website said.
- There are several ways to show support for the cause, including carrying a flag to “show support and patriotism;” Fitness where participants “carry a weight to represent the responsibility veterans carry” and Fierce where they “carry another person to symbolize one warrior carrying another.”
- However, supporters can also help raise money, show up and cheer on others.
Featured Image via Jeffry Priela