Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I believe in my Marines

I believe in my Marines

It hasn’t been the best day. I woke to problem after problem my race. I won’t bore you with the details, but every aspect of the race I'm putting feel apart. A flooded river, a few sponsor checks ‘still in the mail’, vendor payments due, insurance, moving the race route… these are just a few! We’re behind nearly two grand with these issues! The race is deeply sinking into in the red as the river rises. We have fought uphill for publicity, for time, for sponsors, for anything to help us with what we felt, feel, is a great cause. Unfortunately, the structure of Marine Week does not allow our charitable events to be publicized with the Governments activities of Marine Week. Understandable, but difficult for us little guys wanting to help. Registration is hundreds less than we anticipated. Hundreds!  We want to show the Marines that they are respected, appreciated, and loved. And in doing so, not take a dime for the work we’re putting in. Give every penny of profit to charities that directly support Marines. In my own little world here, I had assumed this City loved our armed forces with the passion that I do. I assumed we were a City full of patriots; that no matter the political views, we believed in our Marines.  Well, we all know what assuming does.

I ran out of options today… I mean really out of options. Possible suck up the t-shirt cost on my own accord and cancel the whole thing out of options.

A few last ditch emails… spamming everyone I know just asking for them to spam everyone they know in case there may be some stragglers that just don’t know about us yet. A few more just to get us to break even.

After a start at advertising around the City today, I drove 20 miles back home to collect any additional registration checks to deposit, as every little bit is needed to pay what we can today. I even found each of the jars at home containing any change. I start to fall apart a little, and I know it’s progressing to a lot. I decided take a minute to get my head on straight. I put on the video I made for the race as I get changed into some running gear. I see John’s face focus in at the end. And I simply told him “I miss you every single day.” And I sucked it up and headed out the door.

I ran my usual route and about two miles in turned towards the Veterans monument. I ran into the beautiful columns and headed straight to his name. I kissed it as I do each day on my run, only this time I sat at it’s feet instead of continuing on.

“John, I’d do anything for you. And I do all this to keep you close to me. Maybe that’s selfish… but it’s what I need to find hope in all this.  And the things you’ve brought to me since you’ve passed… amazing, unbelievable things, unbelievable people. Even just in the last few days… it’s all because of you. Because of this foundation, but also because of who you helped me become…  believing in me everyday since we met. I just don’t know this time if I am strong enough. I don’t have any tricks to pull out of my hat anymore. I find these ways to get things done because you told me to never be a quitter and that my strength was the biggest. When I didn’t want to be strong anymore, you refused to let me fail. You always saved me, and you did it by standing by me and making me save myself. And I can never tell you how much that changed me. I don’t know how my strength and belief  is going to be enough this time. See, I’m quitting - Kick me in the ass or something. Well, I certainly am not going to be a quitter, but this hill is so much higher than I can climb without you…” And I began to stand up…

And my phone beeped. A man I had sent a last ditch ‘please spam everyone to register’ plea to simply replied: "I have two more signed up to sponsor a Marine to run."  Awesome, 42 more and I’ll stop seeing red.

Then my phone dinged again:

“Marine Jeff Ortega will have a check for $2000 in his hand tomorrow morning.”

And I feel to my knees.

I believe in our Marines.

**Thank you JH for your big heart and your pride. You generous gift is so much more than a dollar sign can show.