New Jersey Run for the Fallen purpose is to preserve the memory of New Jersey soldiers

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From left are Master Sgt. Robert Grant, A1C Bryan Long and Master Sgt. Bubba Beason during the third annual NJ Run for the Fallen Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. Behind them in the bicycle is Sgt Mike Minard, a double amputee and at right is an unidentified Korean War veteran. From left are Master Sgt. Robert Grant, A1C Bryan Long and Master Sgt. Bubba Beason during the third annual NJ Run for the Fallen Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. Behind them in the bicycle is Sgt Mike Minard, a double amputee and at right is an unidentified Korean War veteran.

SOMERS POINT—The New Jersey Run for the Fallen will remember New Jersey soldiers during their run across the state that begins in Cape May on Friday, Sept. 27 and finishes up at the Vietnam Memorial in Holmdel Sunday, Sept. 29.
They will start Saturday’s leg of the run at Patriot’s Park in Somers Point at 6:40 a.m. where they will honor Pvt. Anthony Sausto, originally from Somers Point. Sausto was only 22 years old when he was killed, May 10, 2007. A hero marker will be there honoring Sausto. PatriotsPark has a permanent memorial to Sausto as well.

Andy Malson of Somers Point, a member of the Run for the Fallen Committee said the organizers really hope that family; friends and any individual who wants to honor a soldier’s memory come out and be at the hero markers as the runners arrive.

The run will go along Shore Road after leaving the park; the next stop is the former site of Zale’s Funeral Home and then through the county. In Galloway Township the run will stop at Veterans Memorial Park to honor Pfc. Bradley Iorio who died May 27, 2009 from injuries suffered in Tallil, Iraq. He was only 19, a graduate of Absegami High School. The run team is scheduled to be at his marker, #60 at 8:50 a.m. Laura Iorio, the fallen soldiers mother said she will be at her son's marker at 7:50 a.m. and hopes friends and family will join her in remembering one of New Jersey's fallen heroes.

Across the state a course of more than 174 miles will honor a fallen New Jersey soldier at every mile who has died in the line of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. The course has been set and each mile is dedicated to honoring another of New Jersey’s hero’s. A hero marker is in place and as the core team of runners stop at that marker and salute the fallen soldier who is honored there. Once they complete the tribute to that soldier they run another mile to the next hero marker.

They will run at an 8-minute mile pace across the state. According to Malson, one group of runners completes a five-mile stretch and they will switch with the next group of runners who follow in an RV and they keep switching to keep everyone fresh over the long courts.

The core team of runners, all current active military has volunteered to make the run to demonstrate their respect for their brothers and sisters who have traveled in harms way in the name of freedom.

“This is not a fundraiser, no one is asking for money rather we are just hoping that people will come out and support our cause to never forget the price our New Jersey soldiers have paid,” said Malson. “Ultimately we would like to see people at every hero marker along the route. It does not take a lot of time; it is just a show of respect for the soldiers and their families.”

The mission of the New Jersey Run for the Fallen is fairly simple; “to run one mile for every New Jersey service member killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. Each mile of sweat and pain and each flag saluted is to pay homage to one service member’s life and their family.  The last Friday, Saturday and Sunday of September, we run across New Jersey to raise awareness for the lives of those who fought and died, to rejuvenate their memories and keep their spirits alive, to support organizations that aid the families of those killed, and to aid in the healing process for the native New Jersey residents whose lives have been affected by the war. We refuse any political affiliation or agenda, but simply honor those who have fought, and those who have fallen under the American flag."

Friday, Sept. 27 the run will start in Cape May and finish in OceanCity. Saturday, Sept. 28 the run starts in Somers Point at PatriotsPark and finishes in TomsRiver and the final leg, Sunday, Sept. 29 they will complete the journey and run to the Vietnam Memorial in Holmdel.

Visit the website that lists each soldier honored. Click on their photo and see where their hero marker is placed. The photos show the soldier, their hometown and age but when you click on their photo there is narrative and photos of the soldier. It’s personal and it’s touching and reminds every person that clicks the photo that each one of these soldiers had a life they enjoyed, a family that loved them and a dedication to their nation.

Unfortunately the wall of honor continues to grow with each soldier who is lost. Saturday, Sept. 21 Staff Sgt. Timothy McGill died along with two others when an Afghan wearing a security forces uniform turned his gun on American troops. McGill, of Ramsey was 30 years old. He will be honored and remembered at hero marker #9 on Friday, Sept. 27 at approximately 10:15 a.m.

http://www.njrunforthefallen.org/home.html


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