Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Run for the Fallen- 2nd annual

On Sunday, August 23rd at 9:00 AM I was among over 500 people ready to walk/run to remember Marines who have lost their lives T.A.M.P.A./Tampa Area Marine Parents Association was founded in April of 2004 as a support group for families located in the state of Florida who have a family member serving in the United States Marine Corps. Last year 266 walkers and runners participated in the event. This year there were over 500.

This is was not a fund raiser, just a commemorative event to honor each of the fallen heroes in the state of Florida for OEF/OIF. I participated to walk for those Marines who we have lost and for my half brother, Brian.

The following email is from a participant from last year's run and was read during the opening ceremony. Cyd, who organized this event with her family had to choke back tears while reading it. The entire crowd was silent and at the end I witnessed many wiping tears away, myself included.

My name is Coleen and I met you at the run 2 weeks ago------I am a volunteer with Deb's organization, Grateful American Coin, and introduced myself to you and also met your daughter that day.
I thought you would like to hear a follow-up story. I walked for Pfc Joshua Brown. When I got home I "googled" the name and found a few different articles about his passing a little over a year ago. I couldn't let it go at that so, although I couldn't find his family's address, I did find his home church in Michigan (his pastor was quoted in a few articles along with the name of the church). I sent him a letter asking him to pass along my condolences and also to let his parents know we are thinking about him down here in Florida through this walk, and how much we appreciate his service to our country. I also included the bib from the race with Joshua's name and a Grateful American Coin.

I received a letter from his pastor today. And a greater surprise was to receive a call from Wayne Brown, Joshua's father, tonight at home. He and his wife were calling from Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Mr. Brown called to thank me for the kind gesture. It was an extremely moving call. We talked for a few minutes and I reiterated what I had stated in my letter and how we in Florida had not forgotten.

I want to thank you and your organization for putting this together. Also to Deb for passing it along to me. As you can imagine, I have coined many people since I joined Deb's mission and I gotta tell you, this is by far the most meaningful experience for me to date. Although you touched many lives that day, know that you also touched the lives of Joshua's parents over a thousand miles away in Michigan. -Colleen

It was truly pleasurable to participate in such a wonderful event. I'm already looking forward to next year and know that I will be doing more than walking or running. I want to be a part of making it happen. Seeing the huge jump in participants from last year to this year I have a feeling they are going to need all the help they can get. My hope is that the number of people involved grows quickly but the number of those who are to be remembered does not. My prayers and thoughts go out to all the families and friends who have soldiers that have given their lives to defend our freedom and help countries in need. To all who are injured, I wish them a quick recovery.

In Loving Memory of Those We Personally Knew
Who Have Paid The Ultimate Sacrifice

LCpl Andrew J. Aviles, USMC - April 7, 2003 - OIF

Major Richard Gannon II, USMC - April 17, 2004 - OIF
LCpl Gary VanLeuvan, USMC - April 17, 2004 - OIF
LCpl Ruben Vadlez, USMC - April 17, 2004 - OIF
Cpl Christopher Gibson, USMC - April 17, 2004 - OIF
Cpl Michael Smith Jr., USMC - April 17, 2004 - OIF
Cpl Ronald R. Payne Jr., USMC - May 7, 2004 - OEF
LCpl Jacob Lugo, USMC - August 24, 2004 - OIF

PFC Roberto Baez, USArmy - October 3, 2005 - OIF
Cpl Joseph Bier, USMC - December 7, 2005 - OIF
Cpl Scott Procopio, USMC - April 2, 2006 - OIF
LCpl KunYoung Kim, USMC - April 2, 2006 - OIF
Sgt. Lea R. Mills, USMC - April 28, 2006 - OIF
SSgt Joseph Fuerst, USANG - June 24, 2006 - OEF
PFC Christopher T. Riviere, USMC - September 26, 2006 - OIF

SSgt Sandy R. Britt, USArmy - August 21, 2007 - OIF

LCpl Jordan C. Haerter, USMC - April 22, 2008 - OIF

LCpl Alberto Francesconi, USMC - January 1, 2009 - OEF

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