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    Annual Chance Challenge commemorates hero, gives back to service members

    Annual Chance Challenge commemorates hero, gives back to service members

    Photo By Sgt. Benjamin Pryer | Gretchen Mack, mother of Chance Phelps, speaks to Marine Corps poolees from Recruiting...... read more read more

    DUBOIS, WY, UNITED STATES

    08.21.2017

    Story by Cpl. Benjamin Pryer 

    8th Marine Corps District

    Nineteen-year-old Lance Cpl. Chance Phelps, of Dubois, Wyoming and Clifton, Colorado, was killed in action in Al Anbar, Iraq, April 9, 2004. He was with the 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Marine Expeditionary Force from Twenty Nine Palms, California. He was posthumously awarded the rank of lance corporal.
    Chance was buried in Dubois on April 17, 2004. On October 1, 2006, Gretchen Mack, mother of Chance Phelps, founded the Chance Phelps Foundation.
    “We started the foundation a couple of years after Chance was killed in Iraq,” said Gretchen.
    “We decided to start the foundation as a way to give back to all the veterans and we were just trying to figure out what we could do to help, so my daughter and I walked from Twenty-nine Palms back to Dubois, and it took us about four months. We raised enough money to start the foundation and then it kind of snowballed from there.”
    Poolees with Recruiting Sub Station Casper, and Marines with Recruiting Station Denver, volunteered during the annual Chance Challenge in Dubois, August 12, 2017.
    Gretchen said the foundation had their first 5K in 2010, as a way to hold a fundraiser every year. A suggestion was then made by the vice president and president of the foundation to incorporate a “tough mudder” style of event, which greatly increased attendance.
    “The chance Phelps foundation doesn't just help veterans with physical problems, we try to get back to everybody,” said Gretchen. We’ve raised over half a million dollars and helped more than 420 individuals and families. If the organization ended tomorrow, we would be happy because we know we’ve helped a lot of people”
    According to Gretchen, the money raised by the event has been used on trips and other opportunities for military veterans and active members.
    “We do this because of Chance, he is the whole premise for all of this,” said Gretchen. “Because we couldn’t welcome him home, we want to welcome everybody else. Chance was a huge outdoorsman, and I thought, ‘what better way to honor him then to provide outdoor recreational events to these guys and their families.’ the stuff you were doing today, he would have been all over it, he is the reason.”
    Gretchen mentioned that a majority of those participating in the recreational trips are retired or veterans, and she is interested in including more active duty servicemembers on their trips.
    “On one snowmobile trip, we had two Korean veterans who had never been on a snowmobile, as well as active duty National Guard Army and Marines,” said Gretchen, “I think it's important to get everybody together because then the old guys can talk to the new guys and vice versa, it’s cathartic for everybody.”
    Shawne Thorpe, a poolee with Recruiting Sub Station Casper, mentioned that Chance Phelps was an inspiration for him to join the Marine Corps and serve his country.
    “There are those Marines and people in history who motivated me through their struggles and their success and what they did,” said Thorpe. “Just because Chance passed away doesn’t mean he stopped serving, his dedication and contribution is still felt today. It's that kind of brotherhood the Marine Corps gives you: when you’re looking at the Marines to your left and you're right and you know you're there for them. That’s how Chance inspired me.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.21.2017
    Date Posted: 08.21.2017 15:22
    Story ID: 245494
    Location: DUBOIS, WY, US 

    Web Views: 88
    Downloads: 2
    Podcast Hits: 0

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