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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
July 25, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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July 25, 2018

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July 25, 2018 Page 5B i e e By Diane Glldewell news@mymcr.nef Run for the Fallen is crossing the U.S. for 120 days, covering 6,000 miles, to honor members of the U.S. military who died as a result of their military ser- vice. There is a core of eight runners who are covering the entire route. Along the way they are joined by oth- ers, sometimes many and sometimes just a few, who want to honor those who have fallen. On Thursda) July 12 the route came through Mon- roe County down Highway 23/87 until it reached the intersection with Iuliette Road where it was to stop for the night. The group's travel vehicles took them from there to the Rock Springs Church on Iuliette Road where members of the Vietnam Veterans of America Middle Georgia Chapter 946 waited to welcome them, join in their nightly memorial service and serve them a dinner of grilled hamburgers, baked beans, sweet tea and a daunting choice of home- made desserts. Gold Star families, that is, those who have lost a family member in military service, were invited to join the gather- ing at the end of the day as well as to participate at any point along the mute. Several families accepted the invitation to join the program and meal at Rock Springs Church, sharing theft grief and loss and their appreciation to the runners for their tribute and remembrance. July 12 was the 97th day of the 120-day Run for the Fallen. It covered just shy of 62 miles, coming south from urban Union City to rural Juliette. It was a hot, oppressively humid day typical of a Georgia luly and not made for cross- country nmning. But the Run for the Fallen runners indicated they will con- sider it one of the best days of their journey because they'll remember the warm reception they received from the Vietnam Veterans over the warm weather. They said it was the first Vietnam Veterans Chapter to host them on their route. "We welcome the oppor- tunity to meet folks sup- porting fallen comrades," said Vietnam Veterans Chapter 946 president Claude Curlee. "We ap- preciate what you're doing and have undying gratitude for keeping their memories alive" George Lutz organized Run for the Fallen. He said he was a typical American. His father and grandfather had served in the military, but he didn't serve. Then one day in 2003, his son told him he had joined the Army. "Are you crazy?" he asked. "Dad, I think I can make a difference;' his 23-year-old son answered, and Lutz feat like he was old enough to make his own decisions. But then one day he learned his son wouldn't be coming home and it changed his perspective. "I became a different kind of American. I had a feeling of appreciation and felt that what was done was not done in vain" said Lutz. "I got the biggest flagpole and put it in my yard and thought everyone should be the same type of patriot'i He said 10 years ago he established an organization to raise public awareness and bring public aware- ness to those who, like himself before the loss of his son, take American freedom for granted. The Run for the Fallen grew out of that organization. The group knows the best way to remember the fallen is to bring attention to their names individually. They collected the names ofaU those who died from military service since the bombing of the USS Cole on Oct. 12, 2000. Their large database includes over 20,000 service members who died while serving or as a result of serving. When organized by dates of death, there were approximately 6,000 unique dates. The Run for the Fallen covers 6,000 miles and at each mile stops to call out the names of those who died on a unique date. At some Some of the Run for the Fallen team members and some of those who welcomed them in Juliette pose in front of the team bus before the runners leave to rest up for their next day. (Photo courtesy of Claude Cudee) miles, there are many names; at other miles just a few. As of the run through Monroe County on July 12, Run for the Fallen had remembered over 17,000 service members who died on 4,453 different dates. The Run for the Fallen team carries a placard with the dates and names and plants a set of flags at each mile if possible, speaking with any Gold Star families that are present at the stops. The runners put in 8-10 hour days, stopping about every 10 minutes for 30-90 seconds, a little longer if a Gold Star family is present. They carry four full-size flags: the U.S. flag, the state flag, an honor and sacrifice flag representing first re- sponders and an honor and remember flag represent- ing every service member who died. On July 12, Run for the Fallen remembered 107 service members who died on 62 different days, begin- ning with Dec. 21, 2013 and continuing into April 2014. Lutz said it was one of the lowest days. He said that most of the run on July 12 was on narrow roads with a lot of road noise. Families listening to the live feed at runforthefallen. org may not have been able to hear all of the names; so he was glad for a quiet place to read the names again and a group of people to stand in for the families, thanks to the Vietnam Vet- erans Chapter 946. He also invited anyone present who had lost a family member in military service to share their name, too. "It's about everyone who has given their lives" said Lutz. "If you have some- Participants who joined Run for the Fallen for its days of running through Georgia sit together at the Memorial service following their run through Monroe County on July 12. (Photo/Diane Glidewell) one in your heart who you would like to include in this moment of honor, please do." One couple had brought a picture of their son who died in Imq in 2006. Others remembered a brother, a god-brother, a husband, an uncle. "To speak a name out loud in a group of those who understand has more power than you realize" said Lutz. He said he had received an email the pre- ceding night from a mother who had lost a 37-year-old son to PTSD that resulted from his military service. Because her son had not died on active duty, she said, "I don't know what I am, but I am grieving" Lutz said she is a Gold Star family member by his definition. Bill Horne, treasurer of Vietnam Veterans of America Middle Georgia Chapter 946, presented Run for the Fallen a check for $200 to help with expenses. Curlee said the mission of Run for the Four runners read the names of those honored during the July 12 run. Fallen fits well with their goal, "Never again will one generation of Vet- erans abandon another" The local chapter meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Rock Springs Church, 1278 luliette Road. The Run for the F tllen group spent the night in Forsyth and than returned at 7 a.m. to the marker where they had stopped on Highway 87/23 the night before to resume their mission, with plans to reach the Senior Center in Jeffersonville the next evening. The route through Georgia ends in Savan- nah on July 17, thengoes north up the coast through South Carolina and North Carolina before turning into Virginia where it ends at Arlington National Cemetery on Aug. 5. Lutz said it took two-and a-half years to plan Run for the Fallen, and it won't happen again. He said he is glad that there have been less names and dates to call as they got closer to the present. The Monroe County Sheriff's will include a hot lunch served safety at grade crossings and tions is Friday, luly 27. Space Teens must bring either their Office in cooperation with the in the GPSTC cafeteria andimportant vehicle maintenance is limited. Checks should be learner's permit or driver's Georgia Public Safety Training logo t-shirt. Check-in will be skills, delivered in person to Monroe license, and all campers must Center (GPSTC) will hold its between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Anyone wishing to attend" County Sheriff's Office, 145 L. wear tennis shoes. 1 lth annual Teen Safe Driving The one-day camp will teach must complete an application Cary Bittick Drive, Forsyth, Ga For more information, Camp at GPSTC from 9 a.m. to new drivers defensive driving and return it with payment to 31029 or by mail to Monroecontact either Sgt. Richard 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11. tips, the dangers of distracted the Monroe County Sheriff's County Sheriff's Office, P.O. Coughenour at 478-262-1125 The camp, which is for teens or impaired driving, skid and Office either in person or by Box 276, Forsyth, Ga 31029, or Dep. Marilynne Fitts at 478- ages 15-17, will cost $20 and off-road recovery techniques, marl. The deadline for applica- Attn: Safe Driving Camp. 957-2811. ~~~i~~i~1~~~i~~i~l~~~ SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS 16 EastJohnson St. Forsyth, GA 31 029 AUTO HOME LIFE LONG-TERM CARE DISABILITY Rick Owens (478) 994 1515 (478) 742-7966 ~L|A//AII|RICAN |N|It|Y*' Large enough to serve you, small enough to know you (478) 9924326 24-Hour Emergency Service 109 Value! Quality from G&M Enterprise Carlton Maynard Westgate Plaza Barnesville, GA 30204 (770) 358-3572 THIS SPACE IS AVAILABLE Let Mon County know you re here