Running for the Fallen – October Edition
I think this has been the month I have looked forward to since I started Two Little Feet.
Two of the honorees this month were the inspiration behind starting Two Little Feet.
I will have family members of two of the honorees this month at the finish line.
The last two honorees this month were requests that I have had on the list since February.
I will be running for my uncle this month.
I will be back in South Dakota once again. I will be on a different portion of the Mickelson Trail. I will start in Crazy Horse Memorial and finish in downtown Hill City.
In February I was asked how I pick names. I explained that I will run in memory of everyone we lost in 2014.
This particular person then went on to explain to me about her husband not only suffering one tragic wildland fire line of duty death, but two. That was all she needed to say to me and I was looking at my schedule to see where I could honor them. October seemed to be the perfect month.
Andy was on his first fire assignment the day he was killed. They were removing trees when he was struck by a falling tree. He was 18 years old. Following Andy’s death, Dutch Creek Protocols were designed and implemented across the fire community. I had the pleasure of meeting Andy’s mother at Family Weekend at the Foundation. She was so loving, warm and welcoming!
Dan Holmes was a member of the Arrowhead Hotshots when he was struck by a burning snag on a prescribed fire in California in 2004. When researching Dan, I came across danholmes.org. It will be 10 years exactly on October 2nd that we lost Dan. While browsing through the website I found tears rolling down my face. Looking through the gallery on that page, I felt like I was getting to know Dan. He looked like such a fun loving spirit. I know he is truly missed. I had the pleasure of meeting Dan’s mother at Family Weekend also.
I hope these family members know how much it means to me to get the chance to meet them. To show them the pleasure and honor it is for me to remember these young men and women.
Trampus was killed while fighting a fire in South Dakota. Trampus is a South Dakota boy. So I feel like I’m running for the home town boy! I feel like I have his home field advantage on my side. I just received confirmation that his family will be making the trip to Hill City on Sunday. I can’t wait to meet them! I can’t wait to share the finish line excitement with them.
Oh man. Where do I start with Brett? He was just a young pup when we moved to Craig and my parents started working at the BLM. He was like a big brother to my sister and me. Always there teasing us and messing with us. But he was the kindest man I have ever met. He had such a kind and gentle soul. He would call and help my sister with her math homework when she needed help. He would be there in an instant for anyone. He was killed in 2009 while on a cutting project. He was struck by a falling snag. I was driving home for the weekend that fateful day. I remember my dad calling me. I was on the interstate outside of Point of Rocks, WY. I have passed that exact point on the road a few times this year, and every time I have thought of Brett. I remember the feelings. The hurt. The sadness. There isn’t a day that goes by that I know my family doesn’t think about him. I can’t wait to be able to honor Brett.
Brett, thank you for being such a huge inspiration. Thank you for being someone who I continue to look to for guidance. Thank you for being the man that you are! You are constantly around me. Everywhere I look.
Did I mention that Brett was runner too?
What is there more to say about my uncle than hasn’t already been said?
Ed started this whole thing. Ed inspired Two Little Feet. The Foundation has always done so much for our family. I felt my dad was able to repay the fallen and the Foundation by being on the BLM Honor Guard. Seeing him be able to do that. I knew that I wanted to do something equally great!
You can pretty much read the whole story about my uncle here!
I have been to that spot on the mountain where he was picked up by the medivac ship. When I visited that spot a few years ago I felt numb. I didn’t feel any emotions. I know now when I go back I will cry and cry and cry. When I visit his plaque at North Crandall Trailhead, I cry. I cry thinking about him now.
I often look up in the sky at the stars and think about him. I think about him when the sunrise and sunset are extraordinary. I think about him every time we take a drive up Sunlight Basin in NW Wyoming.
So…let’s see I have Andy’s youth, Dan’s spunky attitude, Trampus’ home field advantage, Brett’s running, and Ed’s blood running through my veins. How could this weekend and race not be incredibly epic?
There are 5 incredible guys here that you should really think about donating in honor of! How can you say no?!
Of course, if you are in the Hill City area on Sunday, please come down to the finish! I would love to meet any of you!