More than 700 "Run to Honor" at Army 10-miler

By Ms. Jessica Marie Ryan (FMWRC)October 14, 2015

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1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. 1st Class Michael Mrugala, of Falls Church, Virginia, poses with a "Run to Honor" memorial pledge for Spc. Robert Wright, at the Army Ten-Miler Expo in Washington, D.C., October 9, 2015. Wright was a member in Mrugala's platoon.. (U.S. Army phoo... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON (October 11, 2015) -- Sgt. 1st Class Michael Mrugala, of Falls Church, Virginia, dedicated his run at the Army 10-Miler to Spc. Robert Wright, a fallen Soldier from his platoon in Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Mrugala was a first-time Army Ten-Miler participant and immediately saw the campaign's importance as he walked toward the expo booth early Friday morning.

"It demonstrates a sense of selfless service by remembering those who sacrificed their lives for our country," he said.

Over 700 participants in the Army Ten-Miler dedicated their runs to fallen service members and their families, in support of U.S. Army Installation Management Command's "Run to Honor" campaign.

The campaign entered its second year and surpassed last year's numbers by nearly double as more race participants became inspired by the campaign's meaning.

Many participants were drawn to the symbols of honor such as the Gold Star and Next of Kin lapel buttons shown on the booth display, because the pins have a personal meaning to them.

The surviving family members of fallen service members, commonly referred to as "Gold Star" families, receive support from IMCOM programs such as Survivor Outreach Services, Army Community Service, Soldier for Life and other resiliency programs.

Gold Star mother Suzy Maddox, of Wallace, California, came over to the expo booth and filled out a memorial card in honor of her son, Sgt. Matthew Maddox. Participating in the race event was important to her because of the special connection between exercising and memories of her son.

"I always walk, not run, and that is normally my source of exercise," she said. "When my son was in Afghanistan, a lot of our phone conversations happened when I was out walking."

Another Gold Star family member, Becky Welch, of Wylie, Texas, walked over to the booth after recognizing the Survivor Outreach Services displays. Welch, an Army Ten-Miler participant since 2012, dedicated her run this year to her husband, 1st Lt. Robert F. Welch, III.

She said that doing the race became a tradition after her husband's death.

"My husband and I didn't like running before he passed away," she said. "After his death, I started running. It was a way that I could relieve stress."

Welch's and Maddox's cards, along with over 700 others, were put on display on the booth's outer wall so expo attendees could see the names and personal messages written by the Run to Honor participants--a reminder that the freedom to participate in races like the Army 10-miler comes with a very personal cost to some.

The "Run to Honor" campaign is a part of an IMCOM initiative to increase awareness of surviving military Families and the meaning behind the symbols of honor they wear.

Although the "Run to Honor" campaign gained interactive presence at the Army Ten-Miler in Washington, D.C., Soldiers, family members, retirees and civilians worldwide were encouraged to dedicate their Columbus Day weekend runs to fallen service members.

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