Running Soldiers -- all in the Family
May 9, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 9, 2013) -- Running is a great way to exercise, as well as show support for various causes, and one Fort Rucker Family takes it to heart by participating in runs throughout the country to show their support.
Capt. Isaac Wisniewski, D Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment commander, and his wife, Capt. Jillian Wisniewski, Combined Arms Division, 1st Bn., 145th Avn. Regt., run as a unit, when their schedules allow, during various 5k and 10-mile runs throughout the country in support of causes from breast cancer awareness to veteran support programs.
"It's important to bring awareness [to different causes] because it's a way to be involved with the community," said Jillian. "The typical term is 'giving back,' but you're showing your Family and your community that you're supportive."
"To keep the motivation up to run every day, you have to have a goal," added Isaac. "Running for charity events and races just gives you something to look forward to."
The duo has been running together since high school when Jillian organized a 5k run for cystic fibrosis, and even with the addition of their children, Anna and Isaac, 5 and 1 respectively, they still find time to run as a Family.
They include their children by running with them in strollers, and Jillian said she and Anna sometimes run together during "fun runs," which are typically 1-mile races for children after the main run during an event.
Not only do the runs serve as time to bring their Family together, but also as a time to teach their children about the importance of selfless service, said Jillian.
"It's not about 'oh, look at what mommy and daddy are doing,' but more about teaching them to look at this cause and how great it is to support people who need it," she said. "We try to instill that sense of compassion in our children."
Although Isaac said his children are still too young to understand the concept of selfless service, bringing them to the races gives a good opportunity for a learning experience.
"There are plenty of people that have been affected [by adversity at these events,] and it helps for [our children to be there with us] because they ask questions," he said.
One of the main reasons the Family enjoys running is also the physical fitness aspect that comes with the high-energy exercise, said Isaac, adding that it's the easiest and most relaxing way for him to stay in shape.
Jillian agreed and said it's also an important aspect to instill in their children, but above that, it's about the Family time there are able to spend while doing it.
"We tend to do better as a Family when we can do active things together and stay active at least once a day," she said. "We've found that over the years, we tend to be happier and function better, and have better communication when we are able to exercise on a regular basis."
The Family's latest venture is to tackle a 15k trail run in The Berkshires, Mass.
"The actual run will be through the Berkshire Hills, so it should be pretty treacherous," said Jillian, adding that they will also participate in a 5k run the following day.
The entire Family will be flying north to attend, she said, and they were adamant about making sure they could all be there together when they run.
Jillian and Isaac are participating in the race to raise money for Team Red, White and Blue, an organization committed to supporting U.S. veterans who are returning from combat, and enrich their lives by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.
"It uses physical fitness as part of the healing process and it's great from both sides," said Jillian. "It's about helping incorporate a wounded Soldier back in the community, and it's for the Soldier to allow that therapy to occur through physical fitness."
Funds are raised through donations on their website, http://www.crowdrise.com/isaacandjillian/fundraiser/isaacwisniewski, and their goal is to reach $5,000 before participating in the run.
Isaac said seeing people from all walks of life come together for a common cause makes the entire experience worth it.
"Not everybody that runs in these races are directly involved in the military," he said. "It's uplifting to see that there are people in the communities that support organizations like this one, and that's been the most powerful experience for me."