2nd Annual POW/MIA Remembrance Run/Walk Kicks off Memorial Day Weekend

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Jeremy McClure
  • 185th Public affairs
Sioux City, Iowa - Memorial Day weekend is the official kick off to summer. While many were enjoying the weekend, a few took time out of their weekend to show their appreciation for those who have sacrificed for us all.

The 2nd Annual POW/MIA Remembrance Run/Walk was held on a high school track at Sioux City, Iowa. Starting at noon on May 25th, the Run/Walk started, finally ending on the 26th. Participants paid a $25 fee to run or walk as long as they wanted to show their appreciation for the sacrifices of service members in defense of the nation. Many made the event a team effort.

Over 400 participants ran or walked for over 3,300 miles during the 24 hour event.
The Red Bulls, a team made up of members of HHT 1-113 CAV, an Iowa National Guard Unit based in Sioux City, IA, took top honors and logged in 495.6 miles. They will receive a traveling trophy for their accomplishment and will have to compete for it again next year.
The event was organized by members of the Iowa Air National Guard's 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City, IA. 1st Lt Jennifer Carlson, Master Sgt. Marty Hogan, Master Sgt. John Sandman, and Master Sgt. Joe Donovan spent many off duty hours organizing, promoting, and recruiting sponsors to make the event happen.

"It was humbling to see people running in the middle of the night and in the rain to show their support of those who sacrificed," said one of the event's organizers, Jennifer Carlson who is also a 1st Lieutenant with the 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City, IA.

"This was a concept that started 6 or 7 years ago," said Master Sgt. Marty Hogan. Initial concepts were for the event to be a typical 5 or 10 k race but became a 24 hour event. "24 hours is a sacrifice. Giving up part of your weekend is about remembrance."

One of the teams at this year's event participated in memory of Petty Officer 1st Class John Douangdara who died in a 2011 helicopter crash while serving in Afghanistan. A South Sioux City, NE native, Petty Officer 1st Class Douangdara joined the Navy and became a Military Working Dog handler. Petty Officer 1st Class was serving in support of Navy Seals when the Chinook Helicopter he was in was shot down. The team's participation reminded many that you do not have to go far from home to find heroes that have paid the ultimate price.

"The run is not about raising money but raising awareness for Freedom Park and what it means and what it will mean for future generations to come," added 1st Lt Jennifer Carlson.

The money raised from this event will be used to support the Siouxland Freedom Park. The 55 acre park is set alongside the Missouri River in South Sioux City, Neb. Recently a dog park honoring the Military Working Dog was completed and opened for the public. A pentagon shaped interpretive center, half scale replica of Vietnam Memorial Wall, and walking trails are a few of the features planned for the expansive park.

For more information on Siouxland Freedom Park and the POW/MIA Remembrance Run/ Walk, go to http://www.siouxlandfreedompark.org/

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