Tuesday, April 9, 2013

From the beach to the desert

“The reason we race isn't so much to beat each other,... but to be with each other.”
Christopher McDougall,

I love being part of TAPS Run and Remember Team; Honoring our fallen through the miles, remembering their sacrifice and their lives. Saturday morning I ran the Huntington Beach Tri the Beach 5k with the parents of a fallen soldier and the aunt of a fallen marine. We spent most of the 5k talking about their son/nephew, their likes and dislikes and reasons for joining their respective branches. Often people see the loss of these lives as bigger than the lives they lead. They were men and women that fought and died for a country they love; they had amazing personalities and live on through their families.

This weekend I once again carried the photos of PFC Kelly McGuire and Sgt. Clayton Dunn on my back. After the run I was on the road to another event in Las Vegas when I had an opportunity to talk to PFC McGuires mother Lurlene for the first time. I wanted to know more about her son, about this young man whose first name was my middle name. It turns out that Kelly was married and had a young son when he died; he was a musician at heart but joined the Army to provide a good life for his family and had a pretty big personality. His son is now 5 years old and the apple of his grandparent’s eyes. Kelly is never far from their minds. I am friends with Kelly’s family on Facebook as well as the surviving spouse of Sgt. Dunn. Sgt. Dunn’s wife is doing an amazing job of raising their beautiful little girl.

Kylynn Maxwell and I after setting up the TAPS booth

My sister and I after the run - I was emptying the sand out of my shoes

TAPS Run and Remember post HB 5k sand run

Once we got to Las Vegas I felt even more fulfilled from this conversation. I was there to attend the Gold Star Wives of America regional banquet. Gold Star Wives was organized in 1945 by war widows from World War II. It is a Congressional chartered, non-profit organization incorporated in the State of New York. Eleanor Roosevelt signed the original GSW incorporation papers. The history of this organization is as wonderful as they work they do for our communities and surviving spouses.

We watched the installation of the new regional board, ate a wonderful meal, enjoyed some entertainment and conversed with each other. I had the opportunity to sit next to an 83 year old woman, her husband passed away 10 years ago. She talked me about past wars; deployments spent waiting for physical letters and the love between she and her husband it was inspiring. We forget how much different it was in older times, past wars and simply life.

Patty Termini, Southwest Regional President and Jeanette Early, National President

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