PATH Intl. is pleased to announce that Colonel Gregory D. Gadson, USA (retired), will be the keynote speaker at its 2016 Conference and Annual Meeting, presented by title sponsor Purina. The conference will be November 2-5 in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Col. Gadson, a Chesapeake, Virginia, native, served our nation in the United States Army for more than 26 years. Col. Gadson’s service culminated as the Garrison Commander of Fort Belvoir in Virginia, where he oversaw the daily operations of the post, a strategic sustaining base where more than 50,000 military personnel and employees provide logistical, intelligence, medical and administrative support, and command and control for a mix of more than 140 commands and agencies for the U.S. Department of Defense.
A 25-year career Army officer, Col. Gadson’s life is a portrait of courage in the face of great adversity. In May 2007, as commander of the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery, Col. Gadson’s greatest challenge came in Iraq, where an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack cost him both legs above the knees and normal use of his right arm and hand. Despite this, Gadson remained on active duty in the Army and continued to inspire many with his message of courage, perseverance, determination and teamwork. Refusing to be defined by the proverbial “hail of bullets,” he has since drawn upon the lessons of Pride, Poise and Team, learned as a West Point linebacker, and applied them to his life, career and family.
Commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant of Field Artillery in 1989 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Greg served in every major conflict of the past two decades, including Operations Desert Shield/Storm in Kuwait; Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia-Herzegovina; Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan; and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Greg served in various assignments throughout the world. He dedicated himself to leading the soldiers, civilian employees and family members in living the Army Values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. Greg is a passionate advocate for wounded warriors, veterans and those with disabilities; on several occasions, he testified before Congress on issues related to these groups.
In 2007, Tom Coughlin, New York Giants head coach, asked Gadson to meet with the then-struggling NFL team. Gadson talked to the players about service, teamwork, duty, perseverance and adversity. His message resonated, and the New York Giants defeated the 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Gadson made his silver screen debut in 2012 as a lead actor in the blockbuster movie Battleship, in which he portrayed a war-injured veteran who helped save the world from an alien invasion.
Gadson leads a very energetic and dynamic lifestyle where he continues to serve his nation as an entrepreneur and managing partner of Patriot Strategies, LLC, a government services company. He continues acting, currently in The Inspectors, a family television series on CBS. He is also an accomplished photographer/artist and remains active in cycling, skiing and scuba.
Col. Gadson’s military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal; Legion of Merit (2); Bronze Stars (3); Purple Heart; the Meritorious Service Medal (3); and the Army Commendation Medal (3). He is a graduate of Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS, and holds Master’s degrees in information systems from Webster University and policy management from Georgetown University. He holds an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Webster University.
Registration for the annual conference will open in July, and the registration book will be included with the summer issue of PATH Intl. Strides. The conference sessions, workshops, special events and networking are not to be missed, and the keynote address on Thursday with Col. Gadson is included in the registration fee. The keynote address will have all of us saying “Huzzah!” so save the date for this exceptional event and look for more information to come.
The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International® (PATH Intl.®) was formed in 1969 to promote safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) for individuals with special needs. At 866 member centers, nearly 62,000 children and adults, including veterans, may find improved health, wellness and a sense of pride and independence through involvement with horses. Therapeutic horsemanship at member centers may include hippotherapy, equine-facilitated mental health, driving, interactive vaulting, trail riding, competition, groundwork and stable management. Through a wide variety of educational resources, the association helps individuals start and maintain successful EAAT programs. There are more than 55,000 volunteers, 4,666 instructors, 7,672 equines and thousands of contributors from all over the world helping people at PATH Intl. Member Centers.