Rebecca Irizarry wrote -
My name is Rebecca Irizarry. I run for my husband Ommy and my daughter Oceana. On July 27, 2014 Ommy and Oceana died due to injuries sustained when they were hit by a small airplane that made an emergency landing on a beach in Florida. It was our ninth wedding anniversary. We were there as a family celebrating this milestone together. Ommy was an avid lover of the sea and all things shark related, which he passed down to our children. We were collecting shark teeth and enjoying the beach, one of our family's favorite past-times. It was an amazing day. It was an amazing life, until the unthinkable happened. As tragic as their deaths are, I assure you, their lives were not.
I met Ommy in Baghdad, Iraq in 2003. I was a combat medic in the National Guard and he was an active duty soldier in the Army. We fell in love and what I was expecting to be one of the worst experiences, became a catalyst for the fairytale of my life. After completing my six-year commitment in the National Guard, I became committed to the Army in a different way, as a family member. We were a proud military family. To hear Oceana talk of being a "military brat", you would think she held herself equivalent to a princess, which, of course, she was in her Papi's eyes.
Ommy was compelled to join the ranks in 2002 after the tragedies of 9/11. He was a tremendous soldier and I had the pleasure of watching him evolve into an outstanding leader. His last assignment at Ft. Stewart, GA was as a Platoon Sergeant in the Warrior Transition Battalion, where he worked with wounded warriors. Ommy lived for helping others and excelled in this position.
Oceana was just like her Papi; bright, beautiful, and loving. She was blessed with my husband's contagious smile. They were both gentle, happy souls with a vivacious spirit for life. Our family motto was, life is for living and we certainly did! I have been so blessed to have had the opportunity to share my life with and to love and be loved by Ommy and Oceana. I wish for everyone in this world to know and experience this kind of love. I choose to remember Ommy and Oci by their life, not their death. They were SO good at life. Every day I aspire to be more like them. Yes, I run for SFC Ommy Irizarry and our daughter, Oceana, but I also run in support of our troops!
I found myself overwhelmed by the death of my husband and daughter. I felt paralyzed by the grief I was feeling, but I had to make decisions that couldn't wait. I literally said, "It is time for me to soldier up and get my boots on." No, I didn't actually put combat boots on, but I did manage to muster up the strength to move forward. One day at a time, I am moving forward and for Ommy and Oci I refuse to leave our family motto in the past. Life is for living. I ask you to donate to the Boot Campaign, to help support soldiers and their families. Families like mine. To help them in achieving a better life, whatever their needs may be. Let’s stand behind our troops and get our boots on!