Last year, thousands of runners joined together to honor service members who have fallen since 9/11. Known as the Hero and Remembrance Run, this event spans eight kilometers. Whether individuals are in wheelchairs or want to sprint, the run is designed to be inclusive of every type of service member and their family.
The Fisher House Foundation
The Fisher House Foundation hosted the run to raise awareness about the comfort homes it has set up for military veterans. At these locations, veterans’ families can stay while their loved one is receiving treatment for no cost. The Fisher Houses are located throughout the country near major military centers. Depending on the location, they have up to 21 suites that share common laundry facilities, living rooms, kitchens and dining rooms. Since the foundation was started, it has provided roughly $320 million in lodging and transportation for the families of veterans.
In 2015, the Fisher House Foundation served more than 27,000 families. Each day, they can serve 931 families on-site, and an estimated 277,000 families have received help since the organization started. In addition, the foundation ha donated $11,000,000 in scholarship awards to 7,000 students.
The Remembrance Run
The manager at Fort Hood Fisher House, Theresa Johnson, began the event several years after 9.11 to honor those who have served and fallen in recent years. She wanted to create the event because of her work with veterans’ families and her personal loss of her friend, Army Pfc. Timothy Vimoto in 2007. As her family began for her son’s deployment in 2012, the death of her friend was constantly on her mind. Johnson decided that a run would help to honor the service of her family members and the sacrifice that veterans make to protect the country.
At last year’s event, 7,000 boots were placed along the 8,000 meters of the race. Each pair of boots was adorned with the picture of a fallen service member as a visual representation of their sacrifice. Once the run was finished, the thousands of pictures were picked up to create a display.
Some veterans and their families are unaware of the options available to them. The Hero and Remembrance Run, Walk or Roll was set up to spread the word about the options available at the Fisher House. With lodging running up to hundreds or thousands of dollars during medical procedures, the Fisher House Foundation is able to help families be close to their loved one without the added costs. This year’s run will be the fifth one held in Hawaii.
The Hero and Remembrance Run is open to the public, and Ford Island will be open to runners on the day of the event. Since it is a military installation, anyone who does not have a military ID card will be subject to a search according to the military’s regulations. The run will be offered for free since fallen service members have already paid the cost.
When the event has finished, all of the boots will be reassembled at the corner of O’Kane and Enterprise of Ford Island until September 12, 2016. This will allow runners who missed out on seeing their loved one’s boots during the run to find the image and look at the other service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The Hero and Remembrance Run, Walk and Roll is not a timed event, and anyone who wants to join can sign up for the run. An award called the “Traveling Bronzed Boots” will be given out to the military unit with the most participation who wears their colors. Boots and donations can be sent to the Tripler Fisher House in Honolulu, and runners can find out up-to-date information about the run by following the Tripler Fisher House’s Facebook page.