Runners sprint off the line during the Survivors and Fallen Heroes 5k. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)
Published: May 31, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 31, 2016) -- Hundreds made their way to West Beach on Lake Tholocco to take part in a run to honor and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to the nation.
The Fort Rucker Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted the Survivors and Fallen Heroes 5k run to remember Soldiers who were more than just freedom fighters, but also fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and friends.
Col. Shannon T. Miller, Fort Rucker garrison commander, along with other Fort Rucker senior leaders, joined the Soldiers, family members and civilians to run for those fallen service members and said it was vital to remember the sacrifice those who gave their lives made in order to enjoy the freedoms that we have today.
Runners were given the opportunity to run with gold stars on their backs with the name of the service member they wished to honor, and for one group of people, that service member was CW4 Jason McCormack, who once served as an instructor pilot and platoon leader for A Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment.
“We wanted to run to support our friend, Sadie McCormack, and remember Jason,” said Kimberly Barcelona, Fort Rucker Elementary School teacher. “There were 24 of us total from both the elementary and primary schools, and we wanted to run as a team to support Jason, Sadie and their two children.”
McCormack passed away last year when his AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed while conducting a training flight in South Korea. Although some time has passed, Barcelona said the healing process is a long one fraught with challenges.
“These are tough times for (their family), but with some support we can help make it a little easier,” she said. “I think this support helps Sadie focus on getting better and reaching out to others, and that’s what she’s doing – joining support groups and helping other families who are going through this.”
Barcelona said the support provided by friends and family is vital to the healing process, and as fellow teachers they must hold each other up through tough times.
“We at the schools are a family, and our FRES family had to support her through these tough times,” she said. “We have 300 students we have to teach, and if Sadie is having a tough day, we all pick up the slack for each other and try to support her the best we can.”
After the run, trophies and medals were given out to winners in various categories, but for most, the race wasn’t about who came in first or last, but about remembering why Americans are able to enjoy the freedoms they enjoy today.
“This is a good way for people to get together and remember those who gave their lives for us, to remember the families of those whose loved ones sacrificed so that we can all be here today to live our lives the way we want,” said Jacqueline Harbor, military spouse. “I came out to support my friend and that’s something we all need to do – support each other through good and bad times because you never know when you might need that support in return.”
This article was originally published at www.army.mil/article/168877
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