Sunday, October 23, 2011

Running for a Soldier

I absolutely love our National Anthem.  I love the words, the story behind it, and the country it represents.  And like so many other sporting events in our country, it is played before most marathons and many shorter races as well.  I am not sure why or how this tradition began, but it is one I love.  I love how a hush falls over the antsy crowd waiting at the start line, and I always get a lump in my throat as I sing the words in my mind and consider my beloved country and the freedom I enjoy every single day.  I think of the men and women who gave and continue to give so much to make this country what it is and I am humbly grateful.

A friend of mine (I say "friend" even though we've only met once, but I work with his mom and keep up with his running pursuits through her) named Timothy Savoy is running the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, Virginia next Sunday (October 30).  He is currently a student at George Washington University and a friend of his talked him into running his marathon for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).  This program sends 100% of the money raised to support the families of fallen soldiers.

At first, Tim says he was unsure about running for TAPS having no real attachment to the group, but he only had to raise a minimum of $500 so he decided to do it.  Tim wrote in a letter to his friends and family, "I figured I would be running for a soldier who was killed in combat decades ago in a war before my generation and that this run would be more about honor than a reality I could relate to."  This changed, however, when he learned he would be running for SSG. Patrick Dolphin who was killed July 31, 2011 while supporting combat operations in Herat Province, Afghanistan.  Patrick was 29 years old and a native of Moscow, PA leaving behind a wife of almost 3 years and his parents.

Patrick's family contacted Tim, sending him e-mails and letting him know how much it meant to them that he was running for their son.  Patrick's mom wrote that Patrick had always wanted to be a fighter pilot or some sort of soldier.  When he found out his vision was not good enough to become a pilot, he joined the marines and was a member of the 2nd Marine Special Operations Command, based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.  He would have served 12 years in the Marines this October.  He completed two tours of duty in Iraq and was currently serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.  After this tour, he planned to return home and start a family with his wife. 

Running for Patrick has greatly changed Tim's outlook on things.  He writes of this journey, "As a young man barely in my 20s and only now graduating from college, this reality has hit home more than I could have imagined.  One lesson I have learned is to better appreciate the time we have here together.  Time is not a certainty for any of us, so take advantage of the time you have here.  Live each day to the fullest and take it as your own."  Tim asks his readers to "take a moment each day to reflect on sacrifice and what it truly means to your life." 

While Tim Savoy started this journey running for TAPS and SSG. Patrick Dolphin as one person, I believe he will conclude this journey a different man.  He surpassed his fundraising minimum of $500, raising a total of $1700.00 so far.  If you would like to donate to TAPS through Tim, follow this link.

To learn more about SSG. Patrick Dolphin, go here, here or here

May God bless and protect Dolphin's family and friends, his fellow marines, and Tim Savoy who will run 26.2 miles for Patrick Dolphin's memory.  Stay tuned for Tim's post-race report which he has kindly agreed to write and post here. I dedicate this post (and many prayers along with it) to those still serving all over the world, and their family and friends who await their safe return home.  We will remain forever grateful for your sacrifice for this great country and the freedom we enjoy because of you.

"O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O're the land of the free and the home of the brave!"


  1. I have a lump in my throat after reading this. I, too, share the love that you have for our country and all those who have sacrificed to make it free. This is a wonderful organization and because of you, I know about it and maybe someday we can run for someone like Patrick. Thank you for sharing this story.

    I love you,

  2. Hey Ma, I have a feeling you passed your patriotism on to me! :) And yes, I think it would be GREAT to run for a soldier one day like Tim is doing for Patrick.