Reserve Force Master Chief joins Coast Guard team in run to remember 9/11 victims, honor heroes

Shown here (standing, left to right) Petty Officer 3rd Class Dan Kohner, Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Rice, Chief Petty Officer David Donohue, Chief Petty Officer Nicole Clark, (kneeling, left to right) Petty Officer 2nd Class Sara Truesdell, Lt. Tara Collins and Coast Guard Reserve Force Master Chief Mark Allen represent team Coast Guard Sector Baltimore for the 5K Arlington Police, Fire and Sheriff 9/11 Memorial Race in Arlington, Va., Sept. 7, 2013. The race paid tribute to those killed in the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks and honored the men and women who serve the nation as first responders and members of the military. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lisa Ferdinando

Shown here (standing, left to right) Petty Officer 3rd Class Dan Kohner, Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Rice, Chief Petty Officer David Donohue, Chief Petty Officer Nicole Clark, (kneeling, left to right) Petty Officer 2nd Class Sara Truesdell, Lt. Tara Collins and Coast Guard Reserve Force Master Chief Mark Allen represent team Coast Guard Sector Baltimore for the 5K Arlington Police, Fire and Sheriff 9/11 Memorial Race in Arlington, Va., Sept. 7, 2013. The race paid tribute to those killed in the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks and honored the men and women who serve the nation as first responders and members of the military. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lisa Ferdinando

 

Post written by PA3 Lisa Ferdinando

Coast Guard Reserve Force Master Chief Mark Allen joined Coast Guardsmen from Sector Baltimore for a charity run to honor the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and pay tribute to all who have served the nation.

The five kilometer Arlington Police, Fire and Sheriff 9/11 Memorial Race took runners past the memorial for the 184 people killed in the Pentagon and on American Airlines Flight 77 a dozen years ago.

The sky had a warm glow from the late summer sun as runners made their way past the Pentagon Memorial in the early evening, Sept. 7, 2013, in Arlington, Va. 

Running by the memorial “brings it home to each of us participants why we are running in this race,” said Allen.

The race was a transformative and powerful experience, he said, with so many other enthusiastic participants and supporters honoring the nation’s fallen heroes, first responders, military members, and victims of the attack.

It was a meaningful way to honor the victims, and those who have paid the ultimate price serving our nation and those who continue to serve in harm’s way, he said.

“It was a run for those who cannot run,” said Allen.

The sold-out race, which raised money for 9/11-related charities, brought together thousands of people, including first responders, military personnel and family members. Children, as well, raced through the course to the cheers of onlookers.

The Coast Guard team, which tied for 3rd  place for a military team, included active duty and reserve members.

The team was made up of Master Chief Allen, Lt. Tara Collins, Chief Petty Officers David Donohue and Nicole Clark, Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Rice, Petty Officer 2nd Class Sara Truesdell and Petty Officer 3rd Class Dan Kohner.   

“Everybody here is cheering everybody else on,” said Allen. “We’re all here just to honor those who sacrifice. It’s a very homogenous and almost spiritual event.”

The race had special meaning for Donohue, a reservist, who lost many friends from the New York City Fire Department.

Donohue, who used to do training with the FDNY, was supposed to be riding with firefighters in New York on Sept. 11, but an appointment forced him to reschedule.

“The station I was going to ride on was wiped out,” said Donohue.  “The station, the HM1/S288, was the hardest hit station, with no on-duty member surviving,” he said.

“The fire service special operations community is relatively small, and all told, I lost 33 friends that day and have lost three more who worked the [rubble] pile,” he said.

Donohue worked at Ground Zero in Sept. 2001 and helped the fire department that following month with the management of donations and benefits.

“I had seen some of the guys just a week before 9/11 as we were at a conference and flew part of the way back home together,” said Donohue.

Now, he said he felt it was the right time for him to take part in a public event to honor the friends he lost.

“Usually I just hide away on Sept. 11th: this is the first time I’ve come out,” said Donohue. “It was great to participate – a good team-building experience.”

It was a nice experience, he said, being with so many other people who were also remembering that tragic day and honoring the fallen heroes.

Collins, also a reservist, organized the Coast Guard team.  She has run the race every year since coming to the area in 2008.

“It’s obviously an important day to commemorate and to honor those who gave all, and those who are still serving,” said Collins. 

Especially meaningful, she said, was running past the Pentagon Memorial and taking part in this event with fellow Coast Guardsmen, said Collins.

“It’s great to be able to get everybody together for such an occasion and do this. It’s a beautiful setting, with the sun setting over our nation’s capital. It’s just great to be out here,” she said.

After the race, the sun set as an American flag, suspended between two fire truck ladders, blew in the breeze. Participants left the once-crowded streets, knowing for certain that the nation will never forget the attacks of 9/11, the victims that day, and all the heroes who served and continue to serve, protect and defend our nation.

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