SSgt Matthew Burke - USAF
I had the pleasure of meeting SSgt Burke one day when he called to see if I could take 2000 bags of Cheese Nips off his hands. The snacks had been donated by the local ice skating rink. The students had packed all of these snacks into boxes to be sent overseas. SSgt Burke just completed a three year assignment at the Lexington, Kentucky USAF recruiting office. I had a few opportunities to work with SSgt Burke during his last year in Lexington. It was sad to see him move on to his next duty station just last month. He has a real heart for military service and a heart for Christ. It was my honor to run a mile for SSgt Burke today. He and I actually worked out at the same gym so he knows how much I hate to run. It isn’t so bad when you do it for someone like SSgt Burke. Thanks for your service, SSgt. May God bless you as you continue on.
CDR Gordon D. Ritchie, Chaplain. I ran to honor Chaplain Ritchie today. He is the nicest Marine I’ve ever spoken to over the phone. I am usually a bit scared to talk to USMC officers (they are all SO serious!), but Chaplain Ritchie is warm and friendly. He has a difficult job as he serves as the chaplain for the Wounded Warrior Regiment in Quantico, Virginia. Dealing with the issues that face our wounded Marines and their families has to be at the very least, challenging, but Chaplain Ritchie is obviously the man for the job. I’ve only met him over the phone and have no idea what he looks like, but I can assure you that his eyes twinkle and he has a very warm smile. I could hear it in his voice. Thank you Chaplain, for all you do every day to make things a little bit better for our Wounded Warriors. It was an honor to run mile #2 for you today.
MSG Gary Mabley, Army Reserve, has served almost 35 years in the reserve. He is on his third deployment in the past 4 or 5 years. Gary is a friend that I met several years ago at church. I knew he was in the Army Reserve, but I mainly thought of him as Christian, church friend, husband, father, and USPS employee. This was years before my own son was old enough to enlist in the USMC and force the reality of military service on me. I know that Gary has been deployed and away from home more than he has been home over the past 4 or 5 years.......and he is a reservist. This should open your eyes to the reality of the role for what some of us would like to call “Weekend Warriors”. These people are just as committed as those serving active duty. Sadly, their families don’t have the benefit of living on or nearby a military base when their loved one is called up to serve. Most of them live through a deployment “on their own” because those of us in “civilianville” don’t seem to notice! Thank you Gary, for serving THIRTY FIVE years! Thank you to your precious family who has served here on the home front! We pray for your safe return! I ran the third mile for you. The third mile is always the hardest, but honoring you and your 35 years of service was worth it.