Good day TNQ,
My story starts about three and half years ago when I received a call from one of my sisters saying that our dad had passed away at 93 years old. He had a fulfilling life, literally born in a log cabin in Montana then moving to Wisconsin during the Great Depression. After WWII kicked off he decided to fight with the best and became a Marine, fighting all through the South Pacific. After the war he meet and fell in love with our mother and had three kids, providing a loving supportive environment to grow up in. Always there for us and never said no when I asked him to play catch. He taught me how to drive when I was 14, back the boat into the water, shoot a gun responsibly and took me fishing all the time. And of course watching Green Bay Packer games and military movies or documentaries. I share this to show what a great positive male roll model he was and still is.
After his death I had something like an unreachable itch, I didn’t know what it was but something was there. About a year and a half ago I heard Jose Sanchez’s story on TNQ and was amazed, how he became the light in his darkness. He also talked about running the Marine Corps Marathon and what a challenge it was to finish. Then it hit my like a Mack truck, I need to run that marathon to honor my dad. I immediately called my wife and told her, she said “okay, do it”. Now being an avid non-runner I started run/walking with wife who supported and encouraged me to keep pushing on. I worked my way up to running 5k’s and then a half marathon all with my sights on the Marine Corps Marathon. I talked with my runner friends and read countless articles on training for a marathon telling myself this is all for him. Training in Florida in the summers heat was part of what I wanted. I wanted all the pain and suffering because of all the pain and suffering he went through during the war, i just wasn’t being shot at. Finally we got to race day and I was beside myself with anticipation, a year and half in the making. My wife was there as well as my sisters and one of my nephews flew in and friends also came to Washington DC. The first 15-miles was in the rain, downpours at times but this was part of the pain. Never once did I think about quitting!!! When I finished the race I could feel my dads presence and see his smile.
I never in a million years thought I’d run a marathon. But I did and I honored my Dad caring his flag that was presented to me at his funeral all the way. Because my dad was an advocate for veterans I wanted to help our vets. We raised about $3,500 that went to the Semper Fi Fund and also to a local charity that helps people dealing with cancer.
I am thankful for Jose’s story and all the other stories your guests have shared.
Steven Honeyager USN