Spotlight on wear blue: run to remember

One of my favorite events to watch every year is the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon from Kona.  It was watching this event probably 20 years ago that I first learned about Team Hoyt.  It was the first time I’d ever seen the world’s top athletes at the top of their game, and some, well, not so much.

konacrawl

Kona Crawl

I was watching this event when I saw everyday people – yup, just like you and me – take on some of the world’s toughest miles.  And chew them up and spit them out.

2014 Ironman World Championship

Including the mayor of Kona.

Watching this year’s competition was no different, and once again I got swept up in what my brother always calls the “puke stories.” (He can be a bit cynical at times, in case you couldn’t figure that out).  Those stories though, are the best part of watching these events for me.  This year was no different.

I’ve always had a particular soft spot for anything connected to the military.  My dad, uncles, and cousins for generations, all served in our country’s armed forces.  Not too long after moving to Florida, I found a military support charity that I volunteered with for a number of years that just recently shut down operations. (Due to our mission coming to an end, not because of anything bad.:)  So when I saw a story about a military support charity incorporated into this year’s Ironman back story, I was intrigued.

wear blue

One of the athletes in this year’s Ironman, Lisa Hallett, is a military wife who lost her husband jin Afghanistan just after giving birth to their third child.  In order to deal with her grief, she started to run.  And like so many of us know, all those miles can be better than any kind of therapy a doctor can give.

From the wear blue:run to remember website:

“wear blue: run to remember is a national nonprofit running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American Military. wear blue: run to remember creates a support network for military members and their families; it bridges the gap between military and civilian communities and it creates a living memorial for our country’s fallen military members. wear blue: run to remember exists for the fallen, for the fighting and for the families.”

“wear blue: run to remember was founded following the redeployment of 5-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, a unit that, while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, sustained a significant amount of combat losses and casualties. During that deployment, a small group of 5-2 wives and battalion support staff met weekly to run, seeking to create a support network for one another during this challenging and heartbreaking deployment. When the brigade returned, two of those Army wives and avid runners, Lisa Hallett and Erin O’Connor, turned this small group into a nationwide vision that now helps thousands heal from and work through the more challenging aspects of military life during a time of war. Lisa’s husband, CPT John Hallett, was one of four soldiers killed in that unit on August 25, 2009, while returning from a goodwill mission in Southern Afghanistan.”

“Today, this group runs to honor all military members killed in combat and has evolved into a powerful network of active duty and retired service members, military families, Wounded Warriors, Gold Star families and community members.”

After watching Lisa cross the finish line in Kona, I jumped on my computer and checked out the organization’s website, including their blog.  How ironic is it that the first post I read, had to do with runDisney and the Goofy Challenge (here).  I cannot do this post justice here, you just have to go and read it for yourself.  I challenge you to get through it without crying.

ToRememberPic1

Please, take a few moments and check out this organization.  Donate if the spirit moves you.  Buy a visor or a shirt.  Get involved in a chapter if there’s one near you.  Or just run some miles for a serviceman or woman who have made the ultimate sacrifice, or for their families who have also paid the ultimate price and have to live with the grief of their loss every single day.  As runners, it’s the least we can do.

  Enjoy the ride.

Have you been personally affected by any of America’s military operations overseas?  Are you involved in any kind of military support charity?  Which one?  Do you feel a certain sense of accomplishment in helping organizations of this kind?

Disclaimer: I was not asked by wear blue:run to remember to blog about their organization, nor have I received any kind of compensation for doing so.  This is simply an organization that is near and dear to my heart, and one which I am only too happy to spread the word about.

Something Bigger Than Yourself

As I had a complete blonde moment yesterday and totally forgot to write my daily piece of literary genius – okay, maybe not so much – please indulge me for a moment to tell you why.

On occasion, I get the opportunity to help out with an awesome organization, Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida.  Like many rescue groups, this organization rescues, rehabs, and finds permanent homes for Labs that have been surrendered or abandoned by their owners, left in shelters, or in this recent case, dumped off in the Everglades to basically become gator bait.

Lady, or as I like to call her, Lucy, was just that.  She was found wandering around in the Everglades a few weeks ago and was turned into the Miami Dade Animal Shelter.  After two weeks no one claimed her – which is hard to believe as judging by the condition she’s in, someone was taking care of her.  Maybe too much.  Let’s just say she’s a little, well, plump.

Will someone love me and all my chubbiness?

Will someone love me?

It’s not hard to see that Lucy has already had at least one litter, so the wonderful people at the shelter made sure to fix her up lickety split so she wouldn’t have to deal with any more, let’s just say, overly friendly boys hanging around.

male labs

Did someone say girl dog?

Lab Rescue sent a volunteer to evaluate Lucy at the shelter and it didn’t take long to see that she would make somebody a great pet.  And so the rescue train left the station, en route to the temporary foster home of Casa de Black Dog.  And as you can plainly see, she hates it here.  Really.  Hates it.

I just, wait, a little to the left, up, over, ahhhhh.  Sweet relief!

I just, wait, a little to the left, up, over, ahhhhh. Sweet relief!

The only down side to all of this, neither human nor canine have gotten any sleep for the past three nights as Miss Lucy seems to have a possible case of kennel cough.  Poor thing sounds like she can’t stop trying to hack up a hairball and it only gets worse at night.  Luckily though, thanks to generous veterinarians who are only too willing to help out rescue groups, Lucy will be on the road to recovery later today.  And Casa de Black Dog may actually be able to catch up on a few winks.  Winks which I am only to glad to give up to help such sweet, gentle souls like this one find a permanent loving home.

Don't be sad Lucy.  We'll find you a furever home before you know it!

Don’t be sad Lucy. We’ll find you a furever home before you know it!

So the next time you’re looking for a furry friend, be sure to check out your local rescue groups.  You never know, you’re new BFF may only be a mouse click away.  And then you can spend the rest of your days getting THIS face whenever you settle down with your nightly bowl of Moose Tracks.

You DO need some help with that, don't you?

You DO need some help with that, don’t you?

Enjoy the ride.

Where did you get your mutt from?  Would you consider a rescue?