EVENT DATE: Aug 18, 2013
Cindy and Daniel are running in honor of their step-brother/uncle Army Ranger, CPL Matthew Commons who was killed in action, to raise money for Gallant Few which is a 501(C)3 charity founded by an Army Ranger. We have a goal of raising $1,000. We ask that you help us to honor Matt and help veterans by donating to Gallant Few. Can you donate one, two, three or four dollars per mile we run ($26, $52, $78, or $104) in honor of Matt? Do you have a number that is significant to you? $75 for the 75th Ranger Regiment? $10 because you are a college student and that is a sacrifice for you? Donate and tell us why you chose that amount. Any donation, even a few dollars helps. Together we can make a difference in the lives of struggling veterans.
Because Matt made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, it seems appropriate that we take on the most difficult, physically grueling marathon. The Pike's Peak Marathon has the distinction of being called America's Ultimate Challenge because of the difficulty of the terrain and altitude gain in running to the summit of Pike's Peak and then back down via the trails.
GallantFew, Inc’s (501(c)3 Non-Profit) mission is to reduce US Army Ranger veteran unemployment, homelessness and eliminate Ranger veteran suicide by a unique program of one-on-one mentoring by a Ranger veteran, now successful in civilian business, with a Ranger veteran just departed active duty. This effort is called the Darby Project (in honor of WWII’s Darby’s Rangers). Our dream is to one day be able to assist every honorably discharged veteran from every branch of the service.
In the early morning hours, a special ops rescue team was sent in rescue a Navy Seal who had been captured during Operation Anaconda. The helicopter was hit as they tried to land and had a hard landing. Everyone survived the landing. The rescue team was greatly outnumbered and surrounded by enemy forces who were dug in fortifications on the mountain. The twenty-one men on this mission performed heroic feats and faced horrible combat situations. Due to the brave actions of the rescue team, against all odds, they were victorious in what became known as The Battle of Takur Ghar. Unfortunately, seven men lost their lives that day.
On March 4th. 2002 CPL Matthew Commons along with SGT Bradley Crose, SrA Jason Cunningham, SPC Marc Anderson, TSGT John Chapman, PO1 Neil Roberts, and SGT Philip Svitak became the first combat fatalities in Afghanistan. Matt was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on the six month anniversary of 9/11 with the destruction of the Pentagon visible from the gravesite. Matt wanted to join the Army and even if he could see into the future and have known his fate, I believe that he would still have chosen duty to country and he would have still joined the Army.
Matt wanted to join the Army and did so after one year at the University of Nevada, Reno. He liked the Army and was happy. Just after Christmas 2001, Matt was deployed to Afghanistan. He spent is 21st birthday there exactly two weeks before he was KIA. He was an amazing young man who embodied all of the characteristics of a hero. He was a patriot - brave, loyal, kind, a man who believed in God, and a man willing to stand up and fight for everyone at home even though it cost him his life.
Although we lived in different states and visited a few times a year, Matt was a beloved uncle of Daniel. When Dan was three visiting his uncle, he was inspired to learn to roller blade because Uncle Matt did. When Dan learned, Matt skated with him. After one of Matt's high school soccer games, he brought Dan over to meet his teammates. No matter what Matt was doing, he took the time to make Dan feel included and special. Dan was just seven when his Uncle Matt was killed in action, but fortunately Dan has wonderful memories of a teen who made a young nephew feel special.
Matt was an altar server in Cindy's wedding. She can still see the smile he wore that day - the same smile that he had every day. Matt was always happy and that happiness was contagious. She remembers one time visiting Matt's family before her dad and his mother, Patricia, got married. Cindy was taking a nap and Matt, age 8, lead his little brother Aaron, age 6, into the room and started squirting her face with squirt guns. She yelled at them and pulled the blankets over her head. The boys left the room, but she heard giggles and moments later, they came back in the room, pulled the blankets off her feet and started squirting her feet. She was mad! Now she cherishes that memory of a boy ten years younger than she was who liked mischief.