Why I Run for Team Fisher House
I first learned of Fisher House Foundation and Team Fisher House in 2011 from a fellow member of Soldier’s Race Team, James Armstrong. Knowing how strong my love was for those who sacrificed for our country, James told me of all the wonderful things Fisher House does for soldiers, veterans and their families. After reading more about the Foundation and Team Fisher House missions, I decided to join the team at the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon.
I was amazed at the wonderful support I received from Team Fisher House before, during, and after the marathon. I remember waking up the morning of the race and finding my hotel door decorated with streamers and a certificate thanking ME for running for THEM. I thought it ironic they were thanking me when they were doing all the work.
The entire race weekend experience was so moving and inspirational.
I ran wearing a laminated list of the names of SSG Minnick’s friends who were killed during his 20 years of service in the Army as an infantryman…I called them my “angels.” During the race, fellow runners asked about the list, which gave me the chance to share their stories. I also met many others running the 26.2 mile course in honor of loved ones who died serving our country.
At the end of the race, “the hill,” I was so emotionally and physically drained. The Team Fisher House coach and program assistant, Stacy Toner, stood right by me and walked me up to the finish line. I was crying, overjoyed that I finished the race, and overjoyed by the love I received from Fisher House and the people I met along the way. The “angels” I carried on my back protected my legs and I finished! I knew after crossing the line I would be back to run with Fisher House the following year.
For the 2012 race, I added more “angels.” I put a post on my Facebook page to all my friends asking if they knew someone who was killed serving , who had died as a result of serving, or who served and is since gone. I asked that they leave me their name, rank and picture, promising to wear it proudly through the race. I received several names and pictures and made each into a laminated card that I wore as a sash during the race. That sash grew more in 2013, encompassing my entire back. I find it brings me strength when running, but most importantly it honors these brave men and women and their families and reminds us of the sacrifices they made and make every day. Although sad the sash has grown, it is a great way to remember them.