As I’ve shared before, Preston and I both belong to Team Red, White & Blue, a veteran’s organization committed to connecting veterans with others and enriching their lives through both physical and social activities. This past Saturday, Team RWB in conjunction with Team Rubicon and The Mission Continues hosted the third annual Run As One in cities across the country, including here in DC. The purpose of Run As One is to raise awareness for veteran Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. On average, 22 veterans commit suicide each day as a result of their post tour of duty or service related stress. Run As One was established in 2011 as a way to raise awareness for veteran PTSD, as well as to promote unity among veterans and civilians.
I haven’t openly discussed this on the blog before, but Preston is a veteran himself. He completed five years of active duty in the Army, which included a 14 month tour of Iraq, before he completed two years of reserve duty before he resigned his commission. I’m thankful everyday that despite the fact that several members of Preston’s company were injured, and some killed, that Preston came home from Iraq unharmed. Although we didn’t meet until after he completed his active duty service (he had just started his reserve duties when we started dating), I’m beyond thankful that he came home from Iraq physically unharmed. He still deals with the emotional trauma of his time in Iraq on a regular basis, but I’m thankful that this is the only lingering negative effect of his service to our country.
We both joined Team RWB in 2013 as a way to connect with other veterans and their significant others. Our schedule doesn’t always allow for participation in activities on a regular basis, but its events like this past Saturday’s run that make us thankful that we’re a part of this organization.
Most Run As One events held across the country were held in the morning, but because of the Cherry Blossom Parade Saturday morning the DC Run As One was held in the afternoon. We gathered on the National Mall, ran to the East Steps of the U.S. Capitol, where we stopped to take a group picture, and then ran back to our starting point in the middle of the grass on the National Mall. After the run, there was also a group led exercise of 22 pushups to recognize the startling statistic that an average of 22 veterans commit suicide each day.
This wasn’t a race, but races aren’t the only reason to run. Many people who saw the run occurring asked who we were with and why we were running, and it was clear that we had successfully raised awareness for veteran PTSD and suicide in the midst of hundreds of thousands of tourists that were down on the National Mall on Saturday.
QOTD: What runs have you participated in as a way to help raise awareness for a cause?