From the Grand Strand to Ground Zero
Thu, 28 Jun 2012 18:03:53 GMT —
Thursday morning, five men, who call themselves brothers, equipped with American flag running shorts started their 641 mile journey.
"You just have to think about the men and women who would love to be able to run again that would trade position with us any day," said Marine veteran Corporal Rick Geslain. "The least we can do is run for their cause."
"I'm willing to run 641 miles for my brothers," said Marine veteran Corporal Jose Isa. "For any of the servicemen thinking that people aren't out there to help, I hope they see us. We are out there to help."
Geslain and Isa along with fellow Marine veterans Cpl. Doug Meyer, Cpl. Joshua Miller and Private Anthony Caponiare are running from the Grand Strand to Ground Zero, raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
The foundation raises awareness and aids servicemen wounded during war and who are now in need.
The five will rotate who runs while an RV carrying the others follows closely behind.
Each of the men, except Caponiare, served in the Marine Corps overseas during the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fortunately, they all came back in good physical health to be able to run the journey.
"Through the pain, I think it is going to be very satisfying to see how much we can achieve just to see how much we can get for them," said Isa.
"They come back injured, you know head trauma, missing limbs. To me, it doesn't matter. To me, they have a long road ahead of them and a long fight," said Geslain. "We want to show them that some of the public may forget about them, but us veterans will never forget about them."
The group's goal is to raise $20,000 for the foundation. To date, they've raised nearly $9,000.
"I hope we raise enough money to help one of them get a leg or a wheel chair assembly or something, anything," said Isa.
"I've got a friend Derrick Sharp who lost his leg from the hip down," said Geslain. "But I'm doing this run for Kevin Quado who was killed in action in Afghanistan."
"Losing a fellow Marine in battle is something the men think about on a daily basis," said Isa.
"We were on patrol last year," said Isa. "An explosion went off like two to 300 meters in front of me and one of my buddies deceased right in front of us, and it kind of hit me. I was three hundred meters away from that happening to me."
Isa believes the trek will not only help a worthy cause, but the journey will also help the men with their own personal battles.
"People don't realize what you've seen, what you've done, what you've been through everyday waking up to gunfire," said Isa. "Coping is not a physical thing. It is a mental thing, but it will break you down physically."
"The physical part is not going to be fun, but you can block that out," said Geslain. "But emotionally, a lot of us guys lost friends and know a lot of guys that are missing limbs. I think that will push us to make it all the way. But honestly, the hardest thing is going to be paying for gas. We filled up yesterday and it was $180. We're just broke college kids. We took off all of our summer jobs to do this. Hopefully, along the way we get support."
If you'd like to help the five "Gruntrunners", you can donate to their cause at this link.