Support our troops fundraiser
Pledge now! Here's why:
My whole life, I've wanted to run Grandma's Marathon. I lived In Duluth, MN from 1998 to 2002. I was born in Two Harbors, where the race starts, and graduated high school in Duluth, where it ends. I remember the whole city becoming abuzz with traffic and all the excitement surrounding the marathon events. In many ways, the race would mark the real beginning of the summer in Duluth. I always wondered if I could finish it. I would never find out, because on January 21st, 2002, just after the 9-11 attacks, I shipped out to Fort Knox basic training, to become a crew member on an M1A1 Main Battle Tank.
After completing basic training, I was shipped to Friedberg, Germany, where I spent 6 years. Two of which were spent deployed to Iraq. I began training to run the marathon in 2005, between deployments and was excited about running Grandma's Marathon just as soon as I could return to the United States. Little did I know at that time, my whole life would change on June 26th, 2006. My roommate, Terry Lisk and I were hit by enemy mortar fire in Ramadi, Iraq. Sadly, Terry was fatally wounded and I received severe shrapnel wounds to both of my lower extremities. My wounds resulted in an right ankle fusion and long recovery process. Running was out of the question. In June, 2015, after 8 years of limping around as what the Department of Veterans Affairs calls a "limb salvage" patient, I found out about a new exoskeletal brace called IDEO. As it turns out, the brace is ideal for my injury and allows me to run once again! The freedom I feel while running after all those years is hard to explain.
I am so grateful for all the people who have helped me along the way. I have been blessed with the most amazing people in my life and I want to make sure that other service members and veterans can experience some of the same rest and healing opportunities that proved so valuable to my recovery. The goal of this fundraiser is to help give back to amazing programs that enrich the lives or service members and veterans.
The USO offers active duty service members some great R&R. The people from the USO were the very first faces I remember seeing when I awoke in the Hospital.
Shane Woods Purple Heart Hunts was established in honor of my friend, Shane Woods, who was killed in combat on August 9, 2006 in Ramadi, Iraq. Shane was an amazing inspiration to all who knew him. He famously told stories of his love for hunting in the Alaskan wilderness and how it strengthened his faith. Each year, severely wounded veterans are taken on excursions into Shane's favorite remote wilderness, in hopes that they may find some healing. It works! I found an amazing amount of healing there and now I want to help others experience the same.
Thanks so much for taking the time to learn more about this cause. I'm going to earn the medal pictured above and I am going to give back in the process. Be a stakeholder with me in supporting troops, by pledging now!