William Higgins

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To our Core Run Team and Hon…
To our Core Run Team and Honor and Remember supporters, thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you all did to enable another very successful Virginia Run for the Fallen! This year our list of Fallen military Virginians grew to 425 by the time we completed the event. I almost didn't make it this year as a result of an emergency medical procedure I had in March, but God had other plans for me; as promised, at every mile over 248 miles we ran, I stopped to perform a personal Honor and Remember ceremony for the fallen heroes I selected for you. I stood face to face with your heroes' Gold Star families and on your behalf I relayed your sincere message of solidarity, support, and thanks for their loved one's sacrifice.

This year, I added tributes to personal family heroes, like my uncle LCPL Gerald P. O'Hara, USMC, who we lost is February, and SSGT Herbert M. Stiebel (WWII hero) and Joan Stiebel (WWII/RAF WREN). I also added personal tributes along the way for 51 of my fallen U.S. Naval Academy Class of '81 brothers and sisters whom I miss and hope to celebrate at our 35th reunion this year.

This year, our tribute for hometown hero Pfc Dillon M. Jutras, USA-Ranger, was highlighted by cadets running on the Core Run Team from Dillon's former George Mason University AROTC unit, the Patriot Battalion, led by our son Jimmy. Additionally, LtGen Anthony Ierardi USA performed the honor and remember ceremony for Dillon's family, LTC Pierre and Julia Jutras and his siblings Heather, Dustin, and Hunter.

Please continue to support and run with us again next year in 2017, and I would also ask that you set your sights on 2018 when members of various states' Core Run Teams will gather to commemorate and reenact the original 2008 America's Run For the Fallen in it's ten year anniversary with a 3,300 mile run across the USA - from Fort Irwin, Ca. to Arlington Section 60 - to honor and remember the thousands of our heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice. (http://runforthefallen.org/) God willing, I plan to be part of that run team as well and will train harder this year and come back as an even stronger runner for our brothers and sisters who sacrificed all. Looking forward to running with you all on the Core Team next year! Thank you for your support!


Jim O'Hara
CAPT USN-retired
USNA '81-30th Co.
VARFTF Core Team Runner
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
3 years ago
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Dear Virginia Run for the Fa…
Dear Virginia Run for the Fallen Supporters!

Tomorrow, we will bury my Uncle Bud, Pfc Walter E. (Bud) Dillon USA, at Arlington Cemetery with military honors - he was a hero in the Battle of the Bulge (Ardennes) during WWII. With the passing of another special Memorial Day, I wanted to reach out thank all of you once again for standing up, for rising up, for telling our nation ... that our fallen Virginia veterans' sacrifice mattered in this world and that they will continue to be honored and remembered in person with their Gold Star families through our Virginia Run for the Fallen. This year we honored over 389 veterans and their families who made the ultimate sacrifice and over 245 miles, we met their families and thanked them, face to face. Every name of our fallen was spoken, loudly with a short biography. Every fallen veteran was honored with a flag ceremony. For all of you, on your behalf, I dedicated each mile and ceremony to specific fallen veterans who I knew personally, and in many cases presented the surviving mothers and fathers with the dog tags of their fallen to mark the journey they took running with us in spirit. Believe me when I tell you that you made a huge difference for the Gold Star families.

Your commitment to our fallen veterans reaffirmed our mission once again:

• Gold Star brothers and sisters of the fallen; we stand with you as your brothers and sisters.
• Gold Star sons and daughters; we stand with you as you are our sons and daughters too, we thank you for your support of your parent’s service and sacrifice for our country.
• Gold Star fathers and grandparents; we stand with you as fathers and grandparents, and thank you for support of your fallen hero in service to our country.
• Gold Star mothers, you hold a special place in our hearts, for you gave us the Gift of Life in your son or daughter so that they may serve us in making the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Gold Star mothers; we are forever in your debt, we stand with you to honor your children.
• Gold Star families; we stand STRONG with you as your family; because Family Is Forever.

I look forward to running and representing you next year. Again, thank you for supporting us this year.

- Jim O'Hara
CAPT USN-retired / USNA '81
Core Team Runner
Virginia Run for the Fallen 2013, 2014, 2015
4 years ago
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Thanks, Bill! I told Lisa D…
Thanks, Bill! I told Lisa Dolan that our entire class was there in support for her. Thank you for helping me honor and remember his sacrifice.

Jim (JP) O'Hara
4 years ago
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William Higgins
William Higgins
Portland, ME United States
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