MARINE CORPS MARATHON |
August 08, 2008
MARINE CORPS MARATHON
Name: Paul McCollom
Posting date: 8/8/08
Returned from: Vietnam
Daughter returned from: Iraq
I'm a Vietnam Vet (Army, Medic,'69-'70) and have been reading Sandbox posts for almost two years now. The Sandbox became extremely important to me in 2007 when my daughter, a Marine officer, deployed to Iraq as a Platoon Leader/Convoy Commander.
As a parent, having your child deployed to a combat zone is a nightmare. If you’re a Vet it’s even worse because you don't really have to imagine the bad shit that can happen, you just remember. And as a parent you have a need to “DO” something. For me it had to be something beyond the politics of the war (I don’t even want to go there) and it had to be something solid and significant that would actually support those on the ground and paying the price (more than putting a "Support Our Troops" ribbon on my car or forwarding all those emails with eagles and flags and patriotic songs).
And then I discovered Team Fisher House -- 200 individuals from across the country who raise money for the Fisher House Foundation by running the Marine Corps Marathon; I signed up immediately and it has become my passion. No one is safe from my Fisher House “pitch”, and I speak to organizations and businesses across Michigan (VFW, Marine Corps League, Rotary Clubs, ROTC, etc, etc).
I would guess that most of those who post on the Sandbox know what a Fisher House is, and more than a few of you have had to take advantage of the good work that they do. But for those that don't know, a Fisher House is like a Ronald McDonald house for the families of wounded and injured service men and women. The Fisher House Foundation recognizes the sacrifices of our wounded service members and their families and provides a sanctuary where they can be together during treatment for serious injury or physical therapy. They build, furnish and equip multi-bedroom houses where military families in similar circumstances can stay, free of charge, and provide support and encouragement to each other.
So far, 38 Fisher Houses have been constructed across the country and since 1990 they have saved veterans' families an estimated $100 million in housing expenses. Right now they can take care of about 12,000 families a year, saving them $10 million, but the need is greater than that and eight more house are being constructed this year, with more planned for 2009 and beyond.
Most of us can’t imagine not being able to go and visit a loved one who is in the hospital, but that is the situation faced by the families of many our wounded and injured troops. They more than likely live hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from the treatment center and even staying at a crappy motel for any length of time eats up scarce cash, especially for the family of a sergeant or PFC. A Michigan Marine Mom was able to stay with her seriously wounded son, at no cost to her, as he underwent more than a year of recovery at different hospitals around the country. In a newspaper article she stated, "I would have never been able to support my son without Fisher House and I will be indebted to them for the rest of my life."
In 2007 I raised $4,100 and Team Fisher House raised more than $280,000. While there are charities out there that pay a runner's expenses if they raise a certain amount of money, Fisher House does not reimburse us in any way; so all contributions go directly to Fisher House.
I will be 60 this year and am not really built for running; my abs are well hidden and my thighs are just made for chafing. While I have completed a couple other marathons I can’t honestly say I have run one; the last three or four miles are always agony and real runners have nothing to fear from me. I run, I trot, I walk, I dance a little, I work the crowd, and I hope to finish before dark. But what I don’t bring to this party in athleticism I do bring in an absolute refusal to quit, as well as a willingness to make a spectacle of myself if front of complete strangers in order to bring a little more money to Fisher House. This is how ugly it got after the 2007 Marine Corps Marathon:
The bottom line is that my daughter is leaving for her second Iraq deployment in August and I am again running the Marine Corps Marathon (October 26th in Washington DC) for Fisher House. My personal goal is $10,000 and the team goal is $500,000. She is my inspiration, and a part me feels that this is my good luck charm and as long as I keep doing it I will never have to see the inside of a Fisher House.
I hope that I have gotten your attention and that you will support this incredible organization that directly supports those who have truly sacrificed. If so then please go to this website and make a contribution.
If you're really feeling supportive then please pass word along to others who might be interested in donating as well.
Thanks for Truly Supporting Our Troops.