Sunday, September 06, 2015

'Run, Walk or Roll' Event Honors the Fallen

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal Defense Media Activity - Hawaii

JOINT BASE PEARL-HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii, September 5, 2015 — Several thousand runners gathered at Ford Island to honor service members who have fallen after 9/11 as part of the 8K Fisher House Hero and Remembrance Run, Walk or Roll event here today.

According to their official website, the Fisher House Foundation is best known for its network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving medical treatment.

Theresa Johnson, Fort Hood Fisher House manager and founder of the Hero and Remembrance Run, started the event several years later to honor the memory of those who have fallen and those who serve. She said she was motivated to help after losing a family friend, Army Pfc. Timothy Vimoto, in 2007.

“In 2012, sometime in early spring, my son was actually getting ready to go on his deployment,” Johnson said. “Knowing that Timothy had died several years prior, we think about his family every day. I realized that it could be me. I’m a mother of a soldier and a wife of a soldier. I just wanted to do something to honor Tim’s sacrifice and his life, but also honor the service of my husband and my son. That’s where it all began.”

8,000 meters, 7,000 boots

More than 7,000 combat boots, each adorned with a photo of a fallen service member, lined the 8K running route to honor the memories and the sacrifices of the military men and women who gave their lives while serving their country.

“I wanted to do a unique run that would raise awareness but also bring the personal names and faces back,” Johnson said. “What we did was we created the run, and we had a picture of each fallen service member on the boot that you run past. After the run is over, we pick them up and there will actually be a display of the 7,000 all at once.”

Katie Garling, one of the participating runners, lost her husband -- a U.S. Army major -- on July 11, 2014.

“He was a big runner, and since he passed, I’ve been doing a lot more running. And I joined the Survivor Outreach Services Group here and there were a group of us that ran today,” Garling said. “He was a really strong person, and I get on with my life every day because I know that’s what he would want me to do. I think there is no better motivation then seeing all of the boots lined up and honoring the people who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. When you’re tired, just looking at those boots is motivating to make yourself want to keep going.”

Spreading the Message

Anita Clingerman, Tripler Fisher House manager, hopes that the event helps let military families know that Fisher House is there for them.

“It’s one way to tell people that we’re here,” Clingerman said. “There are so many people who don’t know what Fisher House is, and this is a great way to spread the word and let our military families know that we’re here for them. Just talking about the run you get emotional, they paid the ultimate price. I’m honored to be a part of this run.”

Johnson is proud of the teamwork and camaraderie volunteers and participants show during these events.

“This is our fourth here in Hawaii. I couldn’t be more proud because this event is not a fundraiser, everything is done by volunteers. It really is a community event where different businesses have reached out to help us. All this is done by volunteers, from moms with babies strapped on their front and back and service members from all branches. This is bringing everybody together.”

Travis welcomes hero home

By Senior Airman Nicole Leidholm, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs / Published September 05, 2015

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, the Airman who helped foil a terrorist attack on a train in France Aug. 21, arrived at Travis Air Force Base Sept. 3, with his mother and brother by his side.

"We're thrilled to welcome A1C Spencer Stone back to America," said Col. Joel Jackson, the 60th Air Mobility Wing commander. "He's here at Travis Air Force Base for continued medical care and rest and recuperation with his family in the local area. We ask that everyone please respect the Stone family's privacy as he continues to heal."

Stone returned home on a KC-10 Extender from Germany with 25 redeployers from Southwest Asia and was greeted by about 300 Airmen and their families from the base.

"We're extremely proud of A1C Stone; it takes tremendous courage and selflessness to place others' safety above your own -- he put into action our core value of 'service before self'," said Chief Master Sgt. Alan Boling, the 60th AMW command chief. "Again, we are extremely proud of these men for their willingness to take action and stop what could have been a terrible tragedy."

Stone was previously assigned to the 60th Medical Operations Squadron pediatrics flight as an aerospace medical services technician.

"A1C Stone is an energetic medical technician and I'm sure he was hoping for more 'action' than he found in the pediatric clinic as his first duty section," said Master Sgt. Tanya Hubbard, the 60th MDOS family medicine residency and pediatric clinics superintendent. "However, he fit into our team seamlessly and always had a great attitude. He is a hard worker and I was happy he was part of our team."

Hubbard added that Stone's Air Force training influenced how the events in France played out.

"I think his awareness training helped him to be sensitive to potential dangers and kept him on his toes as he toured throughout Europe," Hubbard said. "I'm sure that when it came down to the moment, he was able to act on impulse due to those protection skills. In the end I believe it was the core values, Air Force and personal, that guided him that day."

Stone's life forever changed two weeks ago when he and his childhood friends, Oregon National Guard Spc. Aleksander Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, a Sacramento State college student, were on vacation when an armed gunman entered their train carrying an assault rifle, a handgun and a box cutter. The three friends, with the help of a British passenger, subdued the gunman after his rifle jammed.

"Our Airmen live in an environment of constant change, we learn to adapt quickly and take action; fortunately, Stone's experience and training allowed him to put these lessons into action onboard the train," Boling said. "Stone and his friends did what they thought was right and stopped a dangerous attack and for that we thank them. We wish Stone and the others who were injured a speedy recovery."

Stone is currently an ambulance service technician with the 65th MDOS stationed at Lajes Field, Azores. The Sacramento, California, native will be reassigned to Travis AFB in October.

"We are all very proud of A1C Stone," Hubbard said. "He is humble and will tell you that he doesn't deserve all of the fuss, but that's what makes him special. He acted on survival instincts, but he is naturally a protector and we're thankful that he was in that place at that time."