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by Scott Dickey
SLRC Employee

When I signed up for the Army back in 2000 I had no idea what I was getting myself in to.  I had just graduated college and the desire to enlist grew too strong for me to ignore.  Before I knew it I was being flown to Fort Benning, Georgia for basic training and in for the ride of my life.

During my 4 years of service I would learn how to jump out of airplanes (with a parachute of course) repel out of helicopters, operate more than 10 different weapons with expertise precision,  make shoes reflect like a mirror (floors too) and jimmy rig just about everything imaginable.  I discovered how much weight one could really carry on their  back and learned hundreds of military acronyms.  I can find any location in pitch dark with only a compass. I frequently operated with little or no sleep for days on end, and experienced the true definition of “hurray up and wait”.  I also learned how to react instead of think and realized how awesome running water and real food is… plus many, many other things.  So when Memorial Day comes around, it brings back a lot of memories, most are good but not all of them.  Some of my fellow soldiers were lost and made the ultimate sacrifice.  RIP my friends.

Very easily I could’ve been one of those fallen soldiers.  On my second tour to Afghanistan, my vehicle hit an improved explosive device (IED) or landmine.  Fortunately for me the IED was upside down and the blast was directed towards the ground.  If it had been installed correctly, I probably wouldn’t be here today.  I was injured, but not severely.   Guess it just wasn’t my time.

Of all the ways this has affected me, one way was truly unexpected.   It has made me love running more than I ever have.  Just the simple process of stepping out the front door is a miracle for me.  When I am too tired to run or don’t have any motivation, all I have to do is think about a fallen or injured soldier and out the door I go, just because I can.

What ever it is that motivates you to run, just remember this Memorial Day why you have the freedom to do so.

Happy running and run a few miles  in memory of a fallen soldier today!

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