Excerpt from the journal of Steve Bellona, who came out and ran with the team from Aug 3-8.
“It has been a great trip. I have run about 15 miles, but today drove the U-Haul van with Triona Fritsch to document each flag and service member. It was just as rewarding as running miles. The first three days on the road were unbearably hot. We had mid-90’s each day, with humidity that you could cut with a knife. And yet, we got up each day, put on the shoes and ran the miles. We drank lots, and lots, and lots and lots of fluids. My first five miles on Monday were brutal, but on number five, I passed the State Farm Central Office and found the entire office of 100 standing on the side of the road cheering me on as I ran by. I had a light day of two miles on Tuesday and also placed flags and documented them with Triona. Wednesday, was an eight mile adventure for me, and shared the day with a gold star sister of Sgt. Shawn M. Dunkin. Tracy was with us the entire day. She ran/walked her brother’s mile to lead off the day, and then helped us in the middle with a few extra. On one of stops to wait for a runner to catch up, we had a mother and son stop, ask what we were doing, leave and then come back four miles later with water, food and gas cards. At that stop, we found a small puppy on the side of the road – no collar, no houses around – and Tracy, the gold star sister adopted it.
We stayed Wednesday night at the house of the parents whose daughter lost her husband, Sgt. Alex Van Aalten, in Afghanistan. He had volunteered to go into a mine field to save a Dutch soldier who had been trapped. Tonight, Kris and I had to catch up on other things, but the team is having dinner with a Gold Star Mother at her house. It has been like this every day. Incredible generosity and heartfelt gratitude have been the watchwords of this trip. Kris and I will have difficulty leaving these wonderful young men and women after we finish the day tomorrow.
Look forward to chatting about the adventure upon returning.”