Soldiers, civilians and Family members, clad with gold stars adorned with the names of fallen Soldiers, take part in the Survivors and Fallen Heroes 5k Run and Remember in front of the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center April 5. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)
Soldiers, civilians and Family members take part in the Survivors and Fallen Heroes 5k Run and Remember. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)
Published: April 10, 2014
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 10, 2014) -- American flags adorned the roadway, and more than 300 runners and even more supporters came out to show their respect for fallen heroes and Gold Star Families during the installation’s third Survivors and Fallen Heroes 5k Run and Remember April 5.
The run is a collaborative effort by the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation; Survivor Outreach Services; and members of B Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade, and is meant to honor survivors and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, said Beth Gunter, SOS financial counselor.
“These events give us the opportunity to show survivors that their loved one is not forgotten,” she said. “This run has a special place in many people’s hearts because it’s not really about who wins – it’s about remembering and honoring the Soldiers.”
Runners ran with gold stars on their backs with the name of a Soldier they wished to run for, and some ran with multiple names to show their support.
For Sylvia Ramirez, Army spouse and former service member, the run was an emotional event and was all about remembering her brothers and sisters in arms.
“I wanted to run today because I’m prior service, and this means a lot to me because these are my brothers and sisters in arms that sacrificed their lives for our country,” she said. “This is important to recognize these Soldiers and show appreciation for what they’ve done. They’re the reason why we’re here today and able to do things like this.”
Ramirez’s Family was among those who came out to show support for the runners, and she said to see the amount of support for fallen Soldiers and their Families is overwhelming.
“It warms my heart so much to see all the support that has come out,” said Ramirez with tears in her eyes. “It shows the unity that we have as service members, and there are a lot of civilians here, as well, and it shows how much they appreciate the sacrifices that these Soldiers have made.”
The Wiregrass Patriot Guard Riders were also on hand to show their support.
“We do anything on the homefront for our Soldiers,” said Bill Seyler, Help on the Homefront coordinator for the Wiregrass Patriot Guard Riders. “We do whatever we can to help out – it’s just something you must do to show your patriotism.
The Patriot Guard Riders were spread out at various events from Pensacola, Fla., to Dothan, but despite being spread thin, Seyler said the run wasn’t something they would dream of missing.
“We’re here and that’s what counts,” he said. “Showing support for these fallen heroes and their Families should be common sense. These young men and women do so much for us, so the least we can do is show up and show our support for them.”
Support for the Gold Star Families is what the run and the SOS program are all about, said Gunter. The program exists to reach out to all survivors, and provide services and answer whatever questions they may have, not just for a period of time after a Soldier has fallen, but for a lifetime.
“No one knows the price of freedom more than our Gold Star Family members,” she said. “Our mission is to build a unified program that embraces and reassures them that they will be continually linked to the Army Family for as long as they desire.”
For more information about SOS, call 255-9637 or 255-9639, or visit www.ftruckermwr.com/acs/survivor-outreach-services.
This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/124233/
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