BENEFITING: RUN FOR THE FALLEN MAINE
Hannah Pratt wrote -Hello! My name is Hannah R. Pratt, 23, originally from Gray, Maine, currently living in Springfield, Virginia; I started running regularly three years ago. In 2012, I ran my first long-distance race, the Army Ten Miler, in memory of my Grandfather (a retired Army colonel who had passed away earlier that year). I ran it again in 2013 and am registered for this October. After the Boston bombings, I added running a marathon to my "Bucket List." I began contemplating the Marine Corps Marathon in early January 2014 but wondered if I possessed the strength or motivation to actually follow through with it. When I heard of the charity "Run for the Fallen Maine" and how it honored fallen soldiers from Maine, I knew it was just the motivation I needed. Given the ultimate sacrifices made by these brave men and women, I knew that running 26.2 miles was the least I could do to honor their memories and help support their families.
I'm running in memory of United States Marine Corps First Lieutenant James R. Zimmerman of Smyrna Mills, Maine. I was drawn to Lt. Zimmerman because of our similar backgrounds: he and I both grew up in Christian homes and graduated from small Christian Academies (Greater Houlton Christian Academy and Windham Christian Academy, respectively). As I read more about him, my heart was overwhelmed with gratitude, respect, and assurance that this was the soldier for whom I wanted to run. The final confirmation was when I learned Lt. Zimmerman was laid to rest in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery—the same section as my Grandfather. I am honored to run for Lt. James Zimmerman, a great American Patriot.
I encourage everyone to Google Lt. Zimmerman, as there is a lot of information about him, but here are a few things that I have learned: He was born in Presque Isle, Maine, on the 18th day of May in 1985; he was promoted to Glory on the 2nd day of November in 2010 while serving in Afghanistan, leaving behind his wife of only two years, Lynel. Lt. Zimmerman always wanted to be a Marine. He was a man of faith and firmly believed this to be not only his duty, but also his calling. Prior to graduating from Greater Houlton Christian Academy in 2003, he joined the Marines on day one of Operation Iraqi Freedom at the age of 17. Those deployed with him said he was a “leader,” “protector of his Marines,” and “selfless.” I plan on running with this quote about Lt. Zimmerman in mind as a reminder “…he kept our platoon strong through…many casualties. He kept us pushing to try and keep our minds off the pain, and it worked most of the time. It’s what he would want this time—for us to keep pushing in his honor and the honor of all our fallen brothers.”
Run for the Fallen Maine is an all-volunteer organization. Its goal is to keep the memory of Fallen Heroes from Maine alive. Should you feel led, please take the time to donate through this website. All proceeds from this fundraiser will go towards Run for the Fallen Maine's scholarship foundation, as well as directly to the families who have lost service members from Maine.