by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Farson
117 ARW Public Affairs
9/22/2015 - HOOVER, Ala -- Tech.
Sgt. Matthew Crawford, from the 99th Air Refueling Squadron,
coordinated and participated in a 16-mile walk to honor Prisoners of War
and Missing in Action personnel on September 18 at Veterans Park.
Each foot in the walk represents the more than 83,000 missing Americans in conflicts dating back to World War II.
Military personnel and members of the community were invited to
participate. The event is an effort to show solidarity and appreciation
by the armed forces and civilians so those missing will be remembered.
"This is my way of trying to show support," said Tech. Sgt. Laribeth
Matter from the 99 ARS. "We are giving everyone else the idea we are
here and those before us are not forgotten."
Crawford and Matter started walking at 7 a.m. Other participants joined
in after it was kicked off and walked as much as they desired to show
support. A POW/MIA flag was handled and passed to different people to
carry throughout the event.
"This is a good way to recognize the faith we have in each other as
service members," said Crawford. "The U.S. is not giving up on any POW
Crawford has led this event for the 117th Air Refueling Wing the past
three years. He got the idea for the walk in 2011 after he participated
in a similar event in Japan at Kadena Air Base. The walk falls on
National POW/MIA Recognition Day which is observed the third Friday in
September each year.
For Crawford, the observance also offers the realization that service carries inherent risks and nothing is certain.
"We put ourselves in harm's way," said Crawford. "There's always a chance we can end up in a bad situation like that."