SHARE YOUR STORY
So many of us have a story to share – a story that may inspire others or simply tell of how proud we are to be Americans. Maybe you have a son or daughter currently serving somewhere in the world or maybe you yourself have or are serving – we want to hear from you. Please send your story firstname.lastname@example.org. We will review the content and then place the story on this page. Please indicate if you would like your name included with your story, first name only or prefer not to have your name included.
How This All Got Started…
Approximately a year ago, I read several articles about servicemen that had been injured in the war. Missing limbs and struggling to find their place back home, they found the strength to move forward – to take their injuries and move forward with life in a new way. I was in awe of their strength and determination while also feeling a deep sorrow for the pain they have endured. I laid awake for many nights wondering how I might be able to help them in some way – how could I help all of the people coming back who gave so much for our freedom. Many different thoughts entered my mind, but were dismissed almost as quickly as they had entered. Nothing seemed right…
Several months went by and I was busy preparing for the Red River Run, which is a road race featuring a 5K, 10K and 1K Kids Fun Run. Race day, July 28, 2007, was a beautiful day for running and proved to be a day that I would always remember. You see – it isn’t often that something touches you in a way that will change who you are and what you do…
That day the finish line was busy and chaotic at times, but everything seemed to stop for a moment. Crossing the finish line for the 5K was a man running with a prosthetic leg. We were simply amazed. As we congratulated him on his finish, we couldn’t help but feel of sense of awe at this man’s strength and determination. He checked his time, compared it to his son’s time and simply went on his way. This same man emailed us a few days later to thank us for having the run and to offer some suggestions for the race for those with disabilities such as him. After a series of emails back and forth, he told us he had lost his leg in the 90s while serving in the Persian Gulf War. Prior to the war he was an active runner – he told us how running now helped him to feel normal again.
It was after that email that Curt and I started talking about offering a new event that would be dedicated to all of the people that have and are serving. This event could be so many things – an event that would give something back to those that serve, a simple thank you, an inspiration, a reminder – This event could be used to teach our youth about patriotism, freedom and the fact that our freedom is not at all free.
Our excitement began to build the more and more we talked about the event and then it hit me…all of a sudden it all made sense…after all of those sleepless nights of trying to find a way to help the injured soldiers returning home, I had found something that I am extremely passionate about and I could use that passion to help those who serve.
And so, The Old Glory Run – A Salute to those Who Serve, was created.
– Pam and Curt Karls – Proud to be Americans
Our family is proud to participate in the Old Glory Run in memory of Robert Morford our beloved father, grandfather and great grandfather. Dad was there the day the Army stormed Omaha Beach in 1944 and helped the American Army battle across France. He was captured at St. Lô and spent nine months as a prisoner of war. Although the physical and emotional wounds were deep and the scars grew over the years he returned home to be a model American. Dad’s pride in his country never wavered and he never forgot the men and women that didn’t return home. Dad’s life was one of integrity. He led by his example in his commitment to his family, friends, work and fellow veteran’s.
Through the years Dad applied for help from the Veteran’s Health Service, but it wasn’t until his retirement years that the MN Disabled American Veteran’s (DAV) helped him secure the health benefits he deserved. His quality of life was renewed, and years were added onto his life as a result of the Veteran’s benefits he received. Deeply grateful for the services of the DAV, Dad began to support their efforts. He also made it his mission to help other veterans find the services they deserved by encouraging them to visit with the DAV.
In addition to honoring a great American we are here to say thank you to all who have served our country, for the services of the DAV, and to those making day possible. Look for our POW MIA t-shirts. …
A neighbor: Bon Beiseker
My dad served in World War II. He was there when they raised the flag on Iwo Jima. Although he never really wanted to discuss details of most of what he endured during the war, he was always a proud American and knew he was lucky to have been born a citizen of this great country, as I am.
I first saw mention of the Old Glory Run in our local newspaper, and after investigating the website, knew I wanted to get involved. I passed along my “discovery” to a friend who I happen to work for, who has an outstanding history of support for our troops and veterans causes – Tenor Daniel Rodriguez, you might recognize as the former “Singing Policeman” from New York, who is now one of the proud sponsors of this event.
Pam and Curt have created an absolutely outstanding event, and a beautful and informative website and we’ve posted their links on our sites around the web, to hopefully help others learn more and join in the efforts for such a wonderful cause. So great to see the sponsors and find such great community support also here in central Minnesota. Yea! No one deserves our show of appreciation and our help more then our veterans who have given so much to keep our country strong and preserve our freedom.
Thanks for allowing us to help out. We hope for a great day and no rain on May 22!! Hope to see you there.
– Sincerely Bon Beiseker
A Sailor’s Story
My name is Brian Brovold. I have decided to run for the memories of my friends that were lost in the Al anbar province, Iraq 2006. I was deployed there in 2006 as part of NMCB-25 (Naval Mobile Constuction Battalion Twenty Five) as an Equipment Operator third class now second class. On June 5th, 2006 I was on a convoy and our first two lead vehicles were hit and 2 of my shipmates were killed and 2 seriously wounded. As fate or luck would have it that morning during the convoy brief I switched vehicles at the last minute and my life was spared. I don’t know why it was, but I feel that for whatever reason, it was. After returning home I was lucky to be able to come home without major injury and a loving wife. In that respect my son Maxwell was born in May of 2008. I feel enormously blessed and lucky that I am here today and am excited to perhaps heal some old wounds by running in this 5k and extremly proud to do so.
Thank You for all you do and thank you for this opportunity as it means so very much personally to me.
Finally I run for the memory of all verterans here and who have past and especially for the following, HM2 Jamie Jaenke, EO1 Gary Rovinski, and BU1 Jerry Tharp.
Sincerly and respectfully,
– EO2 Brian Clifford Brovold
A Family Currently Serving
My husband and I have been married for 4 years now and have lived the military life during all 4 years. John enrolled in the NDSU ROTC program for college and after graduating with a BS Degree in Engineering Physics he was Commissioned as a second lieutenant. In August of 2004 we set out on our first PCS (Permanent Change of Station) to Ft. Rucker, AL. We spent a little over a year down in Alabama while John attended Flight School. He graduated from Flight School XXI as a UH 60 Blackhawk Pilot. Also, during this year we were both learning the ropes of military life and what to expect. What we learned is to also expect the unforeseen and that you can never plan on what’s going to happen next. In October of 2005 we set out on our next PCS to Ft Wainwright, AK. We are in our 3rd year up here and are loving most of it.
We have also just welcomed our first Army Brat into the world. Andrew is in for some wonderful times and will get to travel more than most children his age, just by being a son of the Army. Also, how many children can say that their first hometown is in North Pole, AK? Not many and it is because of John’s service to the Army that we are here.
John is now a Captain and a Platoon Leader with Alpha Company of the 1/52 AVN Battalion. The next couple of years are still a mystery to us. We know that at some point we will return to Ft Rucker and in a couple of years John will be joining the Army’s Space Operations. But in between we can’t wait to see what the Army has in store for us.
So far our time in the Army has been short but we have witness many of our friends and family being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. We have witnessed the loss and injury of fellow soldiers and friends. But also consider ourselves lucky that so many have come back home alive and safe. We would like to wish all of our military family, whether we know them or not, a safe and happy return.
We would like to thank everyone who is in support of the Old Glory Run and those who are and have served our country. We also hope that you will all come out and participate in this wonderful event.
– Jorrie, John and Andrew
A Woman Who Served
I have always been a patriot; I was born on the Fourth of July. However, joining the military never entered my mind until I got my college degree and decided being a physical education teacher was too tame for me. I enjoyed watching planes take off and land for hours at small airports near Tulsa, Oklahoma, with my grandpa who used to be a private pilot so naturally I decided the United State Air Force (USAF) was for me. Although my lowest score on the aptitude test was in mechanics, I was put into maintenance because the USAF wanted women in nontraditional career fields. I suppose I was strong and tough enough for that challenge although I had some very trying times in the beginning.
I started as a crew chief for C-141 cargo aircraft at Travis Air Force Base (AFB), California. The men I worked with liked that my skinny fingers could get in the tiniest places behind a bulkhead to hold a wrench. After graduating from Officer Training School and then aircraft maintenance officer technical school, I chose Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota, mostly because it had an indoor pool since I was a competitive swimmer in college. My job was driving the swing shift launch truck for avionics maintenance. The guys would sometimes chock my truck in secret so it wouldn’t move when we needed to respond to a red ball (urgent maintenance call prior to a training mission), but I enjoy a little teasing. I was proud that I loaded a B-52 bomber chute off the runway into a truck all by myself. The static electricity from the chute can certainly give you a big shock. Even when I was pregnant, I performed my duties as much as possible such as going up in a cherry picker to do a level four inspection on an avionics component high in the tail of a KC-135 tanker during the winter.
My next assignment was Blytheville AFB, Arkansas. Once again I was in avionics maintenance but on the day shift so I could attend the daily Deputy Commander for Maintenance stand up; my immediate boss liked to avoid that pressure cooker. I was on the maintenance team for the bombing competition, making suggestions to improve our scores. The bomb wing won in 1984.
My following assignment was a dream – Camp New Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I got to work with F-15 fighter jets and participate in COMBEXs (combat exercises). I liked hiding from the inspectors with the chief master sergeant (and eating his cinnamon graham crackers) in a bunker so I wouldn’t be given a card to simulate a gaping chest wound that would send me away to the morgue. My favorite job was commander for the 32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Detachment 9. I was told I was put in that job to fail so I could be replaced by an officer junior to me. Well, I didn’t fail and felt my troops respected me as their commander.
Then I went to Carswell AFB, Texas. I was the ex facto Total Quality Maintenance guru and helped implement the first Intermediate Level Maintenance Squadron in the USAF. I was an escort for the former Soviets when they came to our base to inspect the bomb bays as part of the Strategic Arms Limiting Treaty. One Soviet officer told me that that I should have stayed home and raised my kids rather than being in the military. The joke’s on him. My service, along with countless others of my comrades-in-arms, led to the B-52s taken off alert as proof that the Soviets were no longer a threat to us, making the entire world a safer place. I was disappointed I didn’t get to go in country during the Gulf War. I was among the first to volunteer but my unit’s bombers were configured for nuclear weapons. Our bomb wing did supply KC-135 tankers for the effort though.
In 1992, I voluntarily left the USAF as part of the congress mandated personnel force reduction. I had no support in the higher chain of command to merit endorsement for further promotion necessary for retention because I failed to “play the game” properly. Instead of spending late nights at the Officer’s Club “kissing butt”, I chose to be home to kiss my sons good night whenever I could. And truth be told, I preferred to be at the heart of aircraft maintenance with the hardworking enlisted personnel rather than yearning for advancement off the flightline. After nearly fourteen years in the USAF, I went to my last reveille in front of the wing headquarters and saluted the flag with tears running down my face.
My husband, Lenny, a Vietnam veteran, totally supported me even though he had to endure slights such as being listed as Mrs. Moen during social functions. We both would have laughed ourselves silly if he had joined the Officer’s Wives Club. However, he skillfully played Mr. Mom to our two sons during my long hours at work and when I went on deployment.
Besides marrying my husband and becoming a mom, my military service is the best thing I’ve done with my life. Aircraft maintenance was not a typical career field for a woman during 1979 to 1992, but I’ve never been a typical woman. I’m exceptionally comfortable in a Battle Dress Uniform, a squadron baseball cap and combat boots. To this day, the smell of jet fuel is like perfume to me. As the old Strategic Air Command motto goes, peace [was] my profession!
Terri Torgerson – A Proud Mother
The 1st annual ‘Old Glory Run’ came at a perfect time for our family. Our son, Specialist Lucas Gene Campbell was deployed to Iraq in January, 2008. Lucas is 20 years old and has a twin brother and 2 younger sisters. He is stationed in Tikrit at this time, which is North of Baghdad. Luke and his battalion (407th out of Arden Hills, MN) are scheduled to be in Iraq until October 30, 2008. For a mother…as you can only imagine, this is truly not the dream you would have for your young son. But as time goes on, it becomes more and more evident to our whole family that this is Luke. This is what he wants…this is what makes him tick. And that makes us very proud!
The music department at our local school puts a program on each year in honor of Veteran’s Day. Initially, I started attending those programs because that’s what parents do…they attend programs to watch their children. The first Veteran’s program that I attended was beautiful. It was heart-warming and I cried…this was prior to when Luke joined the Army. It was at that point that I slowed down and realized the truth…our freedom was not free! We live the way we live today because of sacrifices made by millions of men and women that have fought for our country and have fought for what they believe in.
Lucas joined the Army reserves in the summer of 2006. When he left for Iraq in January of 2008, I felt as though there was something that I needed to do to show my support and gratitude. Getting the idea from families of the 407th who are doing something similar, I teamed up with a gal from our fitness center and we are doing a “Walk to Iraq and Back”. People from our community signed up to be a part of this and by doing so, they keep track of miles each week that they walk, run, cross country ski, or use the elliptical. We have set up a course in the fitness center with maps of Minnesota and Iraq with a little Humvee leading the way to our mile markers on the wall…showing the progress of our team of participants. We set up a “Wall of Honor” in our fitness center as well where pictures and addresses can be posted for those that are serving or have served our country.
When I heard about The Old Glory Run from a good friend of mine (Pam Karls’ sister), I was pumped. Our family and a group of others from our community here in Henning, Minnesota are planning to participate in The Old Glory Run and hopefully spend the whole day in Cold Spring. We will be making t-shirts for our group and plan to send pictures taken throughout the day to soldiers that we know that are deployed at this time. It’s just a small token of our appreciation for what they are giving up for all of us. It feels good to be doing something in honor of these brave men and women. It sounds like the Karls are planning a huge fun-filled family day. We can’t wait! Thank-you Pam and Curt!
– Terri Torgerson
Recently Deployed Soldier
I recently returned from doing my patriotic tour in Iraq. I was the Chief of Military Pay for LSA Anaconda which is a base of approximately 27,000 soldiers, DOD civilians, and contractors and is located about 40 miles NW of Baghdad, Iraq.
I was not sure what I wanted to do after graduation. One day the military recruiters came to ROCORI and I decided to take the ASVAB test and get out of class as graduation was approaching. I decided to join the military. About 3 weeks after we graduated in 1988 (I know, a long time ago) I headed off to Basic Training. My parents were very supportive of my choice to join the military at an early age. After Basic Training I was stationed in Germany and was in the military signal branch. I spent 3 years there and also 1 year in Ft. Sill, OK. I got out of active duty in Dec 1992 and headed back to Minnesota. I joined the National Guard to continue my military career. I attended SCSU for Criminal Justice and received my BA degree. I did annual training in 1995 in Guatemala where I supported the military with communications to various parts of the country so schools, roads and hospitals could be built. Then in 1998 I joined a unit at Camp Ripley in the finance field. In October 2006, I got notified that I would be deployed to Iraq in the spring of 2007.
I went home and told my wife and somehow tried to tell my young son who had just turned 3 that daddy would be leaving for Iraq to help people. When I told the rest of my family they were in shock, but comforted me in letting me know they supported me and would look after my family when I was gone. That was a huge relief for me. In March 2007, I left for training at Ft. McCoy, WI.
The training was extremely tough and challenging. Lots of long hours training on several things that ranged from qualifying on our weapons, maneuvers with driving HUMMV’s, to classroom information on current conditions in Iraq, to becoming Combat Lifesavers, to identifying IED and other dangerous things to simulations of scenarios, and lots of finance situations as that is our main mission. We were very well prepared.
July 2007 we landed in Iraq and the temp was 118 degrees at 6 pm. Step off the plane and did someone just open the oven door? Heat was incredible and lots of dirt and rocks. Long days were ahead of us with getting to our exact location. Once we were there we did some training so we could take over the finance office of the soldiers that were ready to leave. Many of our days seemed to go fast as we were constantly busy all day long. We would assist soldiers with pay issues so their families back home did not suffer and the soldier could focus on their duties. The biggest rewards were the times I would help soldiers correct their pay and you would see them come back into the office and tell us thanks. Then you knew you were doing well. We did go out on convoy missions to other smaller bases that did not have finance offices and those were the times you really had to reflect back on the training we received. Our base was nicknamed “Mortaritaville” as it would see motor attacks 5-7 times a day on average. The entire time I was there, I was able to communicate back to my family with email and phone calls. Sometimes the internet connection allowed me to use my webcam. I think this was very important to see my son and not let him forget who I was and helped with the bonding now since I returned. I was over in Iraq only 2 weeks when it marked my 20 years in the military. I am currently still serving my country in the Minnesota National Guard
Thanks to Pam and Curt for getting a great event going and for the great support for all the military troops and supporters. I hope everyone will enjoy all of the events that are planned and I want to personally thank all of the people who supported me and who are continuing to support the troops that are currently deployed.
SSG LeRoy Weeres