Honoring USMC Sgt. Michael J Medlock
I have a pretty short bucket list, but for some reason running in a race at Disneyland found its way on it. Despite the fact that it had been nearly 40 years since participating in my last 10K, I found myself along with 9,000 other crazy people lined up at the starting line in September of 2015.
Despite the many months of training, by the time I hit mile 5, somewhere around Cinderella’s Castle, the adrenalin that had jolted me from the starting line was no longer coursing through my veins. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a woman running in honor of the Marine whose photo was pinned to the back of her shirt. From that point to the finish line, I followed that woman’s inspiration and her Marine.
Like childbirth, I soon forgot the pain of that run and planned to register for the Disney half marathon the following year. But everything changed in our world just three short months later with Michael’s death, January 9, 2016. For many, many months, just getting through each day was more challenging than any marathon.
Early in our grief journey a resource packet arrived from TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors), immediately my eye was drawn to the logo on the packaging. I knew I had seen it before. My mind went back to the Disneyland run and the photo of that Marine and the same TAPS logo that had lead me across the finish line. How amazing that even before I knew what TAPS was, they were leading me forward.
When a TAPS survivor peer mentor reached out to me, I took her hand as she has walked me step by step through this challenging time. Over the next several months our family began utilizing other resources that TAPS so generously provides and have found comfort and solace through seminars and retreats with other military families who have also experienced traumatic loss of their loved one.
So, I decided to add a new item to my bucket list: Run the Marine Corps Marathon 10K. But this time it is so much more than just a bucket list item. This time I run with a purpose. This time I’ll be the one with the photo of their much-loved Marine pinned on their TAPS shirt.
I run to honor my son, Sgt. Michael J Medlock, and to bring awareness to the mission of TAPS.
I sincerely hope that my efforts will in some way encourage and bless others.
Founded in 1994, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) has grown and established itself as the front line resource to families and loved ones of our military men and women. TAPS provides direct support to families who have been impacted by a death in the military regardless of geography or circumstance.TAPS has provided comfort and care, 24 hours a day, seven days a week through comprehensive services and programs including peer based emotional support, case work assistance, crisis intervention, and grief and trauma resources. TAPS has assisted over 70,000 surviving family members, casualty officers and caregivers. Please take a moment to check out the full website taps.org.
The funds I raise will flow directly into TAPS programming which supports these families through an amazing network of resources, seminars and publications. TAPS provides these services at no charge to survivors from all branches of the service, including Reserves and National Guard. TAPS’ programs and services are available not only for immediate family, but also for extended family and friends. Please help me honor our fallen heroes by supporting me in this effort.
No donation is too big or too small.
Thank you for letting me share my story with you! God Bless.
Proud Marine Mom
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