For Lucas's 20-mile ruck march, he and his companions will be loading up backpacks with 30-plus pounds of gear (or in Lucas's case, canned goods, which he'll later donate to a food bank) and marching military-style to raise awareness and funds for rangers on the ground.
"Ruck marches are how we move stuff in the military," says Lucas. "We're glorified pack mules," he adds with a laugh. "But it occurred to me that a lot of rangers in Africa carry their gear that way, too. They patrol, the same as we did in the military. So why not show support by showing some solidarity with what they're doing."
In partnership with a nonprofit called Different Rhythm, Lucas is marching to support the Gallmann Conservancy in Kenya. He plans to use funds raised to buy the supplies that rangers desperately need and have trouble acquiring, including communications equipment such as radios, as well as water bladders, uniforms, ruck sacks, and so on.
For anyone interested, Lucas says the ruck march is open to anyone who wants to participate. Find out how to contact and join him and learn more here.
Changing our view of what veterans can bring to the table.
Beyond the ruck march, Lucas's wider goal includes expanding our perceptions of how veterans can make a difference in this cause.
"Right now there's a big misconception that people have about veterans, that the only thing we're trained to do is shoot, run and try not to get shot," says Lucas. "But the reality is that all of us in the military received a great deal of training in tons of different things."
Lucas believes that all of the skills veterans learn - which vary widely from diesel mechanics, aircraft repair, water purification, radio communications, and many many more - can be of great value to helping save elephants and rhinos in Africa.
"I think there's a lot of people who just view veterans doing anti-poaching work as guys who are trigger-pullers, who want to act like cowboys," says Lucas. But they have so much else to offer. "How about water purification?" he asks. "Do you need me to put up fence posts?"
The options are unlimited for veterans' involvement, with the right attitude. And more importantly, Lucas believes the interest is there, and that there are many veterans who would help more, if they could.
For anyone, veteran or not, who wants to help save elephants and rhinos, Lucas advises, "Start where you can." You don't have to go Africa to make a difference. He recommends contacting his affiliated organization, Different Rhythm, as a potential starting point for more involvement.
You can march for elephants, too