By Lisa Ferdinando, ARNEWSOctober 20, 2013
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 21, 2013) -- The wounded warriors who raced in the Army Ten-Miler are an inspiration to the nation, said the Army's top enlisted advisor.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III said he and his wife Jeanne Chandler are especially moved by the resilience, dedication and strength of the injured service members.
Wounded warriors have "chosen to overcome their illness, their injury, and their wounds and come out here and participate," he said at the race, Oct. 20.
"It's really the most important part of the whole race," Chandler said.
"There's nothing like it," he said.
Double amputee Mark Little raced with his team to support wounded warriors and those who are currently in harm's way.
"It's absolutely motivating. It's kind of cliché, but we don't do it for ourselves," said Little, who lost both legs below the knee in an explosively formed penetrator blast in Iraq in 2007.
Little's team ran on behalf of Operation Ward 57, a non-profit that operates out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and supports wounded warriors, their families and loved ones.
"We're out here just trying to show our other brothers and sisters coming back missing legs, missing arms, blind, with traumatic brain injury, [post-traumatic stress disorder], that nothing can keep you on the couch," said Little.
It was a great day, he said, with such great people.
"I couldn't be happier," said Little, who, with his teammates, ran the 10 miles with full kits, including plates and rucksacks. He said that is what service members overseas would be wearing.
First-place female finisher Kerri Gallagher said she was inspired by the wounded warriors.
"It's just motivation and just really awesome to be able to run next to them and be there with them and sharing in that same experience, even though it's on a much different level," she said.
Capt. Kelly Calway, who is getting ready to deploy overseas, was the first female military finisher. She is with Fort Carson, Colo., and ran on the U.S. All-Army Team.
"It's amazing. It's absolutely amazing," she said about running with wounded warriors in the race. "What they do, it's incredible."
Calway, who said she has visited wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, said the injured service members have a great outlook on life. Instead of quitting, she said, they persevere and try that much harder.
"Just their attitude about everything is really inspiring," she said.
Ben Creswell from Cedar Falls, Iowa, drills with the 451st Army Band out of Fort Snelling, Minn. He expressed great admiration for the resilience of the wounded warriors.
"It gives you a lot of strength seeing them work through it, and you hopefully give them some strength by cheering them on," he said.
Participants at the race also honored fallen service members.
Lt. Col. Pierre Jutras from Fort Belvoir, Va., took part in the event with family, friends and supporters, in memory of his son, Pfc. Dillon Jutras, who was killed in Iraq in 2005.
Team members wore shirts that had a photo of Dillon and included the words "Remembering An American Hero." Jutras said his son had just turned 20 years old when he was killed.
"We just miss Dillon greatly and this is one way we can show our support and honor him," he said, noting that there were dozens of people who came out to cheer them on or run the race in his son's honor.