Here is some of the feedback from the 2009 run in NW Arkansas. These responses were received by Jerry Bailey, a participant in the 2008 Run for the Fallen, and two time organizer of RFTF runs in Arkansas. The news article at the end details the impact the 2008 event had on the mother of a fallen service member.
Thank you Jerry for sending these responses to share.
Thank you Janet and Jerry for the wonderful time you gave for this event. It was so moving to see everyone running on my drive to Mountainburg. Yes, I was the very proud person honking my horn. What an awesome sight seeing the flags carried and the colorful and patriotic attire. God Bless you all.
After the run Saturday I went to Ft. Smith. On my way back, I pulled off at Mountainburg and drove back to Fayetteville from there. It was humbling, seeing the waving flags with the pictures of the fallen soldiers.
I was glad to be a part of it.
It was an honor to get to run for Lee Ann’s son and ALL the soldiers, and even more so to get to place a flag for John R. Massey who served with my 2 sons in the Ozark’s 142nd National Guards in Iraq. Thank you.
I want to thank all of you, from Jerry for starting this to Janet who completed the coordination of this year’s run. To the many runners who ran and honored our Fallen Heroes. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. This was such an awesome experience this weekend. And we were blessed with the best weather. I felt that God and our soldiers were blessing us as we walked/ran. I drove with Janet up and down 71 looking at all the flags and soldiers. Janet was very kind and even created a flag for my Jason. He’s downtown at College and Spring.
From talking to other moms, I think we all felt the same way. It was so uplifting. I have said, that I wish I could bottle this feeling, for those days, when I need it most. But I do have the memory to pull from and that will help. I was so energized by the experience that I started walking again. Something I’ve needed to do and had not been able to force myself to do. So, I’m invigorated. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to run. But I’m working on it…… At least 1 mile for my baby boy. And maybe if I work at it, another mile for another mom’s baby boy. I have something to work toward and look forward to…..
Thank you again for this experience. Thanks for including me and letting me help. See you next year……
Very Proud Mom of
Cpl Jason K. LaFleur
1/40th CAV B Troop
Ft Richardson, AK
Hawr Rajab, Iraq
Military honored by run in state
Kin, friends take to 71, post flags
Arkansas Democrat Gazette Article
By Evie Blad
Sunday, August 23, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE — Lee Ann Seideman footed a mile with her family Saturday morning and planted a small photo of her son attached to an American flag.
Along U.S. 71, 25 others joined in, covering various distances running a total of 66 miles, one for each of Arkansas’ military servicemen who’ve died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to their count. The group’s route stretched south to Mountainburg and doubled back to its origin at Drake Field in Fayetteville.
“We want to be a part of it any time people take the time to remember,” Seideman said.
Army Spc. Tyler Ross Seideman, a graduate of Lincoln High School, was a week shy of his 21st birthday when he and 13 other U.S. soldiers died Aug. 22, 2007, when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Multaka, Iraq, because of a mechanical problem.
Exactly two years after her son’s death, Lee Ann Seideman laced up her running shoes and took to the road to remember. She ran alongside her husband, Bill, daughters Kiera and Kristen, and Logan Biswell, her son’s best friend who joined the Army alongside him shortly after the two graduated from high school.
The event, called Arkansas Run for the Fallen, was one of a series of events held across the country over the weekend to pay tribute to the nation’s war dead. The smaller events correspond with a nationwide event held last year.
On June 14, 2008, a team ran from Fort Irwin, Calif., to Arlington National Cemetery, one mile for every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, marking each of the more than 4,000 miles with an American flag and a photo of a fallen service member on the 10-week run.
The national group compiled the numbers, including the 66 tally from Arkansas, from various news reports. The tally maintained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has determined that 77 soldiers with Arkansas roots have died in the United States’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – 70 in Iraq and seven in Afghanistan. Sixty resulted from enemy fire, 16 deaths occurred as a result of non-combat situations and one was due to friendly fire.
Fayetteville resident Janet Stockton Taylor, who helped organize Saturday’s event, said, “It was such an honor to be able to put those miles in. You really feel the impact of what you’re doing.”
Taylor and a group of friends ran 16 miles through Missouri in 2008. The nationwide span created a visual impact to reflect the loss of life, she said.
“You’re reflecting on that person and who they are and what they gave for their country,” Taylor said. “They gave all, and they’re not the only one.”
Before the run Saturday, a group of volunteers and family stood in silence while Taylor read a list of the people they’d come to honor.
Erin Pettay of Rogers ran in honor of her brother-in-law, Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Woodham of the Arkansas Army National Guard, who died July 5 at Camp Adder in Tallil, Iraq.
Woodham, 37, became the first casualty of Arkansas’ 39th Infantry Brigade’s second deployment to Iraq in a non-combat incident while working on a humvee. He was the motor sergeant for Delta Company, 1st Squadron, 151 Cavalry Regiment.
The family now pays more attention to yellow ribbons on vehicles and events held in honor of soldiers, Pettay said.
“It’s definitely made us more aware,” she said. “Memorial Day means something to us now.”
Seideman, the mother of the Lincoln soldier, meets once a year with the mothers of the 13 others who died in the helicopter crash.
She recently visited her son’s marker in last year’s nationwide run, mile 3,721, a scenic stretch of Virginia 250 in the northern part of the state, after the woman who ran that mile last year called her to discuss the family’s sacrifice.
The trip inspired Seideman to run, she said.
Across the globe in Iraq, the remaining men in Spc. Seideman’s company, the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, ran five laps around their base Saturdaymorning to honor the men they’d lost.
“He would love this,” Lee Ann Seideman said.
To contact this reporter:
Northwest Arkansas, Pages 19, 22 on 08/23/2009