Coast Guard units participate in Run to Remember events

 

Participants run in a Run to Remember 5K race to raise awareness of fallen shipmates. Photo by Ens. Duane Zitta

Participants run in a Run to Remember 5K race to raise awareness of fallen shipmates. Photo by Ens. Duane Zitta

For the third year, Coast Gurad bases throughout the country have honored the Coast Guard’s fallen by participating in an event called Run to Remember. Three Hampton Roads Area events took place at the end of May, part of more than 50 events nationwide.

Run to Remember set a precedent for remembering our fallen, not only with words but with actions. This notion keeps them at the forefront of our thoughts. The act of running serves as a physical reminder of the pain of their loss and the strength needed to carry on. In contrast, the excitement felt at the finish line is a reminder to celebrate their contribution to our country, to those whose lives were saved and to a nation that remains free.

 

Participants stand for a photo before running a Run to Remember 5K race to raise awareness of fallen shipmates. Photo by Ens. Duane Zitta

Participants stand for a photo before running a Run to Remember 5K race to raise awareness of fallen shipmates. Photo by Ens. Duane Zitta

In addition to remembering those who were lost, participants can provide support for the families left behind. Participants can contribute to the Fallen Hero Scholarship Fund by purchasing T-shirts.  

In South Mills, N.C., event organizer Ensign Misty Tokarsky permitted both people and pets along the 5k course on the Dismal Swamp Trail. Capt. Frank Pedras, the commanding officer of Communications Area Master Station Atlantic in Chesapeake, Va., made opening remarks. Pedras reminded the crowd to never forget those in our service who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Lt. Jim Erickson and Petty Officer 2nd Class Alan Shanks of Sector Field Office Eastern Shore planned and hosted a 5k at the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge. Nearly 50 people participated including active duty, reservists, auxiliarists and retirees. This was the second year the event was held at the refuge.

Despite a continuous downpour, the final event took place at Base Portsmouth in Portsmouth, Va., with about 80 participants including a few riding in strollers. After the initial 5k was completed, five active-duty members including event organizers Ensign Duane Zitta and Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Leif took off on on an impressive 34-mile journey to the Old Coast Guard Station in Virginia Beach, Va. The other three runners were Lt. Cmdr Marshall Griffin, Petty Officer 2nd Class Loren Powers and Petty Officer 2nd Class Ben Phipps. They were followed by a support vehicle and made sure to capture the spectacular finish at the Coast Guard station with a photo of themselves and the Coast Guard flag. The five runners raised awareness of the Coast Guard’s fallen by completing the run at the beach. The event organizers plan to host a larger event next year.

More information on The Coast Guard’s Run to Remember can be found at http://cgremember.com/. Information about T-shirt sales, the Coast Guard  Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund and how to host an event can also be found there. Links to Facebook pages for events are listed as well.

Five active duty members stand for a photo at the former Coast Guard station in Virginia Beach after running 34 miles to raise awareness for fallen shipmates.

Five active duty members stand for a photo at the former Coast Guard station in Virginia Beach after running 34 miles to raise awareness for fallen shipmates. Photo by Ens. Duane Zitta

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