Next spring, on the 74th anniversary of D-Day, retired Navy SEAL Lance Cummings will lead a team of three dozens participants through a recreation of the Normandy invasion, in France.
The 58-year-old veteran is organizing the event to raise money for the Navy SEAL Museum. The Navy SEAL Museum, located in Ft. Pierce, Florida, is the only museum dedicated solely to preserving the history of the U.S. Navy SEALs and their predecessors. According to their mission statement, the main objective of the Museum remains the promotion of public education by providing the opportunity to explore the history of the Navy SEALs through interactive exhibits while honoring the fallen at the SEAL Memorial and caring for those warriors’ families through the Trident House Charities Program.
The event, which will take place on June 6, 2018, isn’t the first that Cummings has organized.
Last spring, he created the Sparta300, where he led 20 individuals on a 240-mile trek across Greece from Sparta to Thermopile, retracing the journey of the 300 soldiers led by King Leonidas who faced the much-larger invading Persian army in 480 B.C. The Sparta300 raised nearly $300,000 for three different military charities: CharityVision, the Navy SEAL Foundation, and the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation.
“This is a way to give back,” Cummings said about the Sparta300. “I think the culminating effect for this whole event was that everyone is going to get in shape doing it, but we’re going to impact thousands of other people just with the funds we are raising. It’s about leaving the world in a better place than it was in when you got here.”
This time, Cummings will be reliving another epic moment in history. He will follow in the footsteps of the Allied forces who stormed the beaches of Normandy in 1944. Hewes Hull, who participated in the Sparta300, also signed up for the D-Day event; he said the first charity event was tough but worthwhile.
“It was 100 percent about the people,” Hewes said. “How many times can anyone say they’ve spent eight days rucking with 20 people, 10 hours a day, and enjoyed every minute of it?”
Cummings said his goal is to raise additional money to pay for several World War II veterans, both American and French, to take part in the ceremonies.
The Epic Charity Challenge in Normandy will take place in eight months, but the 35 men and women who will take on the challenge have already begun training.
“I expect this will be one of the most daunting experiences of my life,” Cummings said. “My family has watched so many videos on the History Channel of what happened that day. The ocean ran red with the blood of those men. We see this not as just a challenge to raise money, but as a way to honor their sacrifices.”