Seven Year-Old on Track to Fulfill New Year’s Resolution: Completing a 5K Run on Birthday Weekend

After seeing his parents, dad – recalibrated veteran Matt Brady, and mom – Janelle Brady run a 5K in 2023, 7-year-old Jace, made it his 2024 New Year’s Resolution to run a 5K.

“I looked at Miles for Mills and went, huh, it’s on his birthday,” Matt said.

May 28th is Jace’s 8th birthday, the same weekend as the 13th annual Miles for Mills Memorial Day Weekend, 5K and 10K, presented by New Balance Foundation. 

After making the connection, Janelle said they knew this would be the perfect 5K for Jace to accomplish his goal.

SERVICE

Matt Brady retired from the U.S. Army in August 2006 after being hit by a suicide car bomb on November 27, 2005, while on deployment with the 3rd Infantry Division to Baqubah, Iraq.

“We were out cruising around and got ambushed and got hit by a car bomb that was on the side of the road,” Matt said.

Sustaining a head injury, burns, shrapnel, and a jaw injury – Matt finished the remaining three months of his deployment, hopeful to return on another deployment.

After his retirement, Matt was disconnected from the military community and lacked connection with other veterans in his community. 

COMMUNITY

“In 2017, I got invited from another organization in Florida to go on an alligator hunt. It was my first ever veteran trip, and I didn’t want to go – I didn’t know what it was going to be like.”

After going on the alligator hunt, Matt connected with a former Travis Mills Foundation employee who encouraged him to bring his family up to the Retreat – encouraging him to realize he is not alone in what he is experiencing – post military service.

“[Janelle and I] went up there, and we had a blast. We first went in Summer 2018. The next time [in 2019], we brought Jace up there and he had the time of his life,” Matt said.

Janelle was not married to Matt when he was in the service and did not have connection to the military community; coming to the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat introduced her to that piece of her husband’s life.

“It gave me a better understanding of the veteran world for sure,” Janelle said.

“TMF has been a blessing in our lives,” Matt added.

Throughout the last few years, the Brady family has stayed in contact with the Travis Mills Foundation – joining them yearly in Ocala for the annual Never Give Up on Country benefit concert.

“We look forward to that concert every year,” Matt said.

MILES FOR MILLS

The family was excited after speaking with the TMF team and determining they would be able to come up to the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat this May to participate in the Miles for Mills Memorial Day Weekend 5K and 10K  presented by New Balance Foundation.

The family has been training for the 5K for the last few months.

“We live on a small lake out here on Silver Springs and there is like a 1-mile road that goes around the lake. We have been walking, running, and riding our bikes around it – probably like four to five days a week after [Jace] gets off of school. I work some nights so, the nights we have available, we get that done,” Matt said.

Janelle added that they try to run powerpole to powerpole intervals to help with training.

To help add to Jace’s excitement about his training, Matt and Janelle gave him a FitBit to track his steps and how fast he runs.

“I run 11 [miles per hour],” Jace excitedly added.

The Brady family is excited for their upcoming trip to the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat in May for the Miles for Mills Memorial Day Weekend 5K and 10K. It has been five years since they have been to the property, and they are excited to see the changes that have been made – including the addition of the Health and Wellness Center that opened in September 2022.

“We are looking forward to doing it as a family,” Janelle said.

“It is going to be fun to start together and finish together,” Matt said.