|Preflight inspection of the rotor head.|
- What did you do in the Marine Corps? I was a helicopter pilot, transitioning to the MV-22 Osprey platform. (The follow-up query I have heard multiple times: "The Marine Corps has aircraft?")
- How long were you in? A little over 11 years.
- Did you go over to the Middle East and stuff? Yes.
- How did you get injured? You can read all about it here (pt.1) and here (pt.2). Re-telling this story is still not easy for me.
- Wow, so it must hurt a lot, still, huh? How do you deal with that? By looking forward, pursuing my goals and continued physical therapy.
- How old are you? Old enough to know better and young enough to do it sometimes anyway.
- I thought you'd be taller, how tall are you? Apparently, I am not as tall as you think I should be.
- But seriously, how much do you weigh, because you don't look big enough to be a Marine? My first reaction to this question is a HIGHLY Marine response, so I just say: Well, I no longer meet the USMC height/weight standards.
- Why ultras and marathons; why not 10Ks or 5Ks? I can run a lot more slowly during an ultra.
- Why 1200 miles; does that include racing? I am really only able to run 3-4 times a week, so to average 100 miles per month is an endeavor. No, the 1200 miles does not include the mileage from my races.
- What does "Non mihi, sed tibi, gloria" mean? "Glory to thee, not to me." I undertake the physical challenge of the races but the goal is raising awareness of and money for the two organizations and shedding a spotlight on those who overcome much more than I have in their journeys back from injury.
- Why the Semper Fi Fund and the MARSOC Foundation?
Marines and Sailors who are seriously injured, whether in combat or in training, often face a tremendous and lengthy road to recovery, measured not in months but in years. Many of us have read the stories of coming back from such injuries, but what isn't seen or, in my view, well understood, are the costs of that recovery, physical, financial and emotional. While the military does have the medical facilities to treat and assist with a portion of the recovery, they do not provide for extraordinary costs associated with it, and often times, the service member is completely away from their unit and existing support networks. That's where the Semper Fi Fund and MARSOC Foundation come in to play.
Semper Fi Fund exists to fill the voids - whether assisting with family relocation, specialized equipment, support networks, family assistance, travel assistance, extraordinary expenses and finding a way for those service members to become active again, that's what they do. And they do it incredibly well.
MARSOC Foundation is smaller, by virtue of its community being a smaller one, and they also provide some of the above, but they also have a slightly, more somber mission - remembrance of those who were lost and assisting the families they leave behind.
I have several friends who are Semper Fi Fund recipients and a number of friends with MARSOC, and I believe strongly in what both organizations do and how fully they care for our Marines and Sailors and their families. While stories of our troops in combat may not be front page news now, there is inherent danger when training for conflict and even in routine deployment operations, and those men and women will still need assistance in the years to come.
- What is important about the Tiger 45 story? Over a year after he was injured, LtCol Bryan Forney is still in San Antonio, TX, recovering, and he is allowing me to share his recovery to raise awareness about what it takes to come back from such a severe injury and the role the fund has played in assisting him and helping his family. (He and I were both helicopter pilots; it's a small community.) There will be other stories as the year progresses.
- What is your fundraising goal? In keeping with the 12for12 theme, I would really like to raise $12,000 for each fund. And I don't want people to think that I am asking them for lots of money. It's that adage that lots of little raindrops eventually fill the bucket. I am hoping that people can spare a few rain drops and help me reach my goal. (If you like, you can donate here.)
- Why t-shirts? It's another way for people to share the message of the fundraising, have a cool shirt to work out in (or just wear) and to support the foundations - net proceeds from the sales go to the organizations, both of which are 503(c) charitable organizations. (You can purchase a shirt here.)
- And here's a freebie - what are two things you don't know about me? I know a ton of songs from musicals and will sing them like Julie Andrews and I have a sense of humor.