Home National Army Run 56-year-old Member Leads Canada in 2023 Army Run Donations

56-year-old Member Leads Canada in 2023 Army Run Donations

Members from Camp Canada participate in a shadow run event of the Army Run held in Ottawa, Canada on September 20, 2015 during Operation IMPACT. Photo: Op Impact, DND KW01-2015-0274-10

Private Tracey Gauley of the Grey and Simcoe Foresters has made her unit the third biggest donor in Canada for the Canadian Army Run

Joining the CAF at the age of 51 years-old, Private Tracey Gauley is a proud mother of two sons and an active member of the Grey and Simcoe Foresters who has brought in nearly $6,000 of donations for the Canada Army Run all on her own.

Pte Gauley’s efforts in garnering donations have made her unit the third highest donor in all of Canada and she equates her success to the message behind the cause.

“When I reached out to my friends, my colleagues, my former employer, my family… I asked them: ‘Would you sponsor me in this incredible opportunity to give back to veterans and those who have been injured both visibly and non-visibly?’” Pte Gauley explained.

Donations to the Army Run go towards two charity groups consisting of Support Our Troops and The Soldier On program. Both initiatives aid military members, veterans and their families while facing unique living circumstances and transitioning periods in between service and civilian life.

Pte Gauley staying active as she goes out for a run (Courtesy of Pte Gauley)

“Everyone stepped up and it just became something massive,” said Pte Gauley. “I was just overwhelmed. If you saw my thank you to people… I have no words it just it took me by surprise. It was not me. It’s what [The Army Run] is for.”

One of the sponsors Pte Gauley approached to support the Army Run was her former employer, the Airboss Defence Group (ADG) who produce CBRN gloves, gas masks and boots for the CAF.

Along with their donation ADG left a message which Pte Gauley recalls as, “Supporting those who protect us”; one of many overwhelmingly positive messages that captured the purpose of the event.

Along with her donors, the events that led to Pte Gauley joining the CAF after an already successful career as a paralegal also speak to the message behind the Army Run.

Pte Gauley staying active as she goes out for a run (Courtesy of Pte Gauley)

Growing up in foster care, Pte Gauley was taken out of a tragic living situation at the age of 13 by a police officer and Children’s Aid Society member, both of whom she still remembers the names of.

“When I was a kid, I was afraid of everybody and as a child I used to think of soldiers as fearless,” Pte Gauley said. “I became obsessed with soldiers… I had neighbors that were soldiers. I just saw them as fearless and I thought, ‘One day I want to be afraid of nobody’.”

Today, Pte Gauley thoroughly enjoys training and learning new skills alongside her fellow members in the Grey and Simcoe Foresters who have allowed her to develop strategic and navigational skills as an infanteer while keeping physical fitness the top priority.

 She sees her colleagues and unit as a family where disagreements happen, but everyone manages to come together in the end.

“It takes a community to raise a kid and I had that experience at different homes with different people and the most wonderful thing of all, is the mentors that I met along the way,” Pte Gauley said.

Sergeant Wiggins has kept the Foresters involved in the Army Run since 2021 and attests to the sense of family and presence that Pte Gauley has brought to the unit.

“She’s one tough soldier for sure! She’s had a lot of trials and tribulations in her life and her way of getting back and overcoming things,” Sgt Wiggins said. “She’s shown that through the regiment by taking her BMQ and her trade courses and constantly persisting. She comes out and participates in all of the PT sessions that we have and is a leader among her peers.”

The Canadian Army Run hosts in-person and virtual events with the first in-person race happening on 17 September in Ottawa. Virtual races commence between 8 September and 29 September with Canada-wide participation being tracked using the ASICS Runkeeper App.

For more information regards the Canadian Army Run, click here.

By: Caleb Hooper