What started in 2008 as a small group of dedicated runners who pledged to run a mile for every service member killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, has now evolved into a yearly event that, this year, boasted 7000 runners from thirty-two states and two countries. These dedicated individuals ran over 39,352 miles in memory of the lives lost in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The New York City chapter of ‘Run for the Fallen’ was sponsored by Fort Hamilton’s Survivor Outreach Program, whose sole charter is to provide aid and support to the families of Army soldiers killed in the line of duty.
United War Veterans Council’s own Jessica Bryan was on hand to offer her support. Besides working tirelessly with UWVC, Jessica is also the founder of ‘Step into Their Boots’ a program that gets young adults to honor fallen service members and, “continue the steps they can no longer take.” Involving Step into their Boots with ‘Run for the Fallen’ seemed to be a natural progression for Jessica.
Also participating in the event was Emily Toro, a Gold Star Mother, and a relentless positive force in the veteran community. Emily was recently successful in having the Parkchester Post Office renamed in her son’s honor. Pvt. 2nd Class Isaac T. Cortes was killed in action in Iraq on November 27, 2007.