FORT LEE, Va., -- Over the years, Chief Warrant Officer 3 David Boyer has participated in several long-distance events, just for the sheer love of running. This weekend he'll be lacing up his sneakers to run a marathon in memory of a friend who never had the opportunity to run one.

Boyer is currently enrolled in the Warrant Officer Advance Course at Fort Lee. But before returning to the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Benning, Ga., he'll take part in the Marine Corps Marathon, Sunday in Arlington.

"I enjoy running, and use that time to collect my thoughts and mentally work through my day," said the York, Pa., native. "I'm running this marathon for a reason."

Boyer has registered as a charity runner for the American Cancer Society, with a $3,500 goal. A friend and colleague, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Eugenia K. Emmons, had recently passed away after a yearlong battle with cancer, and his running will be a tribute to her.

Boyer served with Emmons several times throughout his career, most recently in the 24th Quartermaster Detachment in Vicenza, Italy. But in 2003, they worked together in support of the 173rd Airborne Brigade's airborne insertion into Iraq. He was training for a marathon, and invited Emmons to run.

"We had many runs together, and she had always mentioned that she would like to complete a marathon," said Boyer. "We stayed in touch, and she was never able to have the time to train for a marathon. She was in Afghanistan when she had some health issues, and later was diagnosed with cancer. She was determined to beat it."

Boyer visited her at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and said her outlook was as positive as ever, and was proud to have served with her.

"The marathon is just one way I can honor Eugenia and her service to this great country," he said. "The charity runner program gives me the opportunity to run in honor or memory of someone with cancer, while at the same time, I am raising money to support the American Cancer Society -the very institution that has made some major headway in coming to a cure."

Boyer is also running in honor of Doris Boyer, his sister-in-law, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, his wife's grandmother, Fern Dorich, and his uncle Bob Keller, both of whom were diagnosed with cancer.

Boyer is registered on the American Cancer Society Web page, and continuously updates the progress of his family and friends online. The site also allows contributors to make tax-deductible donations. For more information about Boyer and his charitable cause, visit the ACS Web site at

(Mike Strasser writes for the Fort Lee Traveller.)