Gretchen Evans accepts the Pat Tillman award for service at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Credit: Mark Terrill / AP

A veteran from Brunswick received this year’s Pat Tillman Award on Wednesday, which is awarded to service members who embody the spirit of Pat Tillman, a former NFL player and U.S. Army Ranger.

Army Command Sergeant Major Gretchen Evans, who serves as Gov. Janet Mills’ Aides-de-camp, joined the Army in 1979, working her way up to Command Sergeant Major over 27 years of service.

Evans was injured in combat in Afghanistan in 2006, and was left with total hearing loss and PTSD. She then went on to found Team UNBROKEN, a racing team that welcomes veterans and others with life-altering injuries, illnesses or traumas. The team trained to compete in the World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji, a multi-day expedition competition that takes competitors through various challenging terrains.

Evans was appointed last year as an Aides-de-camp on a council of veterans who advise the Mills administration on issues affecting Maine veterans.

“Command Sergeant Major Evans is an inspiration to me, as she is to so many people across Maine and America,” Mills said. “Her courageous leadership continues to lift people up and give hope to those who may not have had it before. I am so proud to congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition, and I thank her for all she’s done for our veteran community. We are so fortunate to have her here in Maine.”

Evans has also been inducted into the U.S. Army Women’s Hall of Fame and U.S. Veteran Hall of Fame.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.