Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Today I ran 3 miles and walked 2 miles. Here is an update on the heroes I honored with today’s STEPS.

Mile 1 - Tow Platoon, 2nd Tank BN, 2 MAR
When I was trying to come up with today’s heroes, I started thinking through all the guys that deployed with my son back in 2005 and again in 2006. There were so many of them that I realized it would take me weeks to get on to the next group of heroes. I decided that I would run a mile in honor of the platoon today. These guys will always be very special to me. I had the privilege of getting to know many of these Marines and their families. We had a close-knit group of family members that supported each other through two deployments. The Tow Platoon extended family became my family. I know that the Marines that served alongside my son will always be his brothers. I can’t possibly understand the bond that these men will always share, but I do know that I share a pretty special bond with their family members. To all of you in 2nd Tanks, Tow Platoon serving in 2005 and 2006 tours to Fallujah......thank you for your service! Semper Fi!

Mile 2 - Jeff Smith, Veteran US Army
I am proud to call Jeff Smith my friend. He is one of the most patriotic people I have ever met. He loves God and country more than most of us put together! He comes from a long line of military service. His grandfather served in WWI, his father served in WW2, his brother served in Vietnam, and Jeff’s army service took him to Germany. Jeff’s son served three tours, 2 to Iraq and 1 to Afghanistan. Needless to say, Jeff and his family deserve at least a mile of my STEPS today! Thank you to ALL the Smith family veterans. We are a better nation because of people like you!

Mile 3 - Lt. Brenda Cowan, Fallen Firefighter, Lexington, KY
I did not have the privilege of knowing Lt. Brenda Cowan, but I know that she was an amazing hero. Lt. Cowan was the first female African American to join Lexington’s fire department. She was killed in the line of duty, February 13, 2004, just a week after she was promoted to Lieutenant. Cowan was a dedicated member of the fire department who is remembered as a courageous and humble woman. She is dearly missed here in Lexington, and we are all truly grateful for her service.

Mile 4 - LCPL Chase Comley, Fallen Marine, 2D Assault Amphibian BN, B Co, 2 Mar Div, II MEF
Chase Comley was only 21 on August 6, 2005, when he died while serving his country in Iraq. Chase was a graduate of Sayre School in Lexington, Kentucky. He won a number of athletic awards at Sayre, was the starting center for his basketball team, and played pitcher and catcher for Sayre’s baseball team. Chase was always a good athlete. He was the pitcher for my son’s baseball team at Gardenside Little League. Coincidentally, even though Chase and my son, David, were not in the same unit, they both served together at the same FOB, Camp Smitty. We think the world is a big place, but two kids from Little League found themselves serving together to establish a forwarding operating base back in 2005. From all who knew him, it is said that it was an honor to serve alongside LCPL Chase Comley. Thank you for your sacrifice, Chase. We will always be grateful that you stood in the gap for each of us.

Mile 5 - Gunnery Sgt. Michael Anderson, USMC
When I met Michael Anderson he was “Sgt. Anderson”. His name was mentioned quite regularly around our house. He was the Marine recruiter based in Lexington, Kentucky at the time that my son was begging us to sign the papers for the Delayed Entry Program which allow one to enter the Corps at the tender age of 17. I had some serious doubts about one of my kids entering the USMC, but Sgt Anderson spent plenty of time helping my husband and I work through our concerns. I’m sure you are shaking your head. Recruiters get a bad name. People accuse them of just wanting to reach their quota and more. Perhaps that is true for some, but “Sgt. Anderson” took my boy under his wing and spent an entire year preparing David for boot camp and his life as a future Marine. Sgt. Anderson is now Gunnery Sgt. Anderson. He is a career Marine. Shortly after he left the Lexington recruiting office, he was deployed to Iraq. He continues to move to the places where he is called by the Corps. After 5 years, he still keeps in touch with my son. I don’t know if he is still mentoring all of his recruits, but I do know that he is faithful to be there to advise my son to this day. Thank you Gunny Anderson! You will always hold a special place in my heart!

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