Race for a Soldier

21 Sep

I am always amazed by the power and strength of community. Whether it’s within a church, a club, an organization or even at work, being surrounded by a core of people who understand you, know your history and encourage you is a pretty awesome thing.

Today I was part of a large group of people who support Race for a Soldier, a half marathon organized by Gig Harbor resident Leslie Mayne. She founded the run last year after her son, a former soldier who suffered from PTSD and a TBI, died from overmedicating himself.

Over the past year I have written several stories about Leslie’s mission to care for all service members. Race for a Soldier benefits organizations that offer alternative therapies for soldiers returning from war zones.

Leslie’s personal testimony is a powerful one. After her son passed away she fell into a dark place and tried to run away from the pain. She describes her pain as something that “could kill you because it hurts that bad.” She desperately tried to find healing, but it was when she felt the presence of God during a run that she knew she could really heal.

Leslie created Race for a Soldier to serve as a tangible reminder for herself to live. God is using her to reach out to the military community and their families. Each time I see her she always references a worship song that carries her through the difficult times. At today’s prayer breakfast to kick off the race weekend, a worship band performed Mercy Me’s “The Hurt and The Healer.” With an audience of past and present soldiers, families and civilians, the words were relevant to many.

“Jesus come and break my fear. Awake my heart and take my tears. Find your glory even here.”

It was so encouraging to be around so many people who all had a heart and a passion to reach out to our troops. I spoke to a woman at the prayer breakfast who’s husband is gone on his sixth deployment. She formed a group of spouses to log 6,700 miles through running, walking, swimming or even pushing a stroller during the deployment, so they “could run to their husbands.”

Retired soldier Armando Mejia shares his testimony at the prayer breakfast.

The testimonies I heard today were inspiring and again, put a face on the war that to me used to seem so far away.

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