News: Maintenance Marines join cross-country runner, former sergeant on run for veterans
Story by Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - The Marines of General Support Maintenance Company, 2nd Maintenance Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group shouted their motivation through the streets as they ran for a cause here, Sept. 4.
Brendan O’Toole, the co-founder of the Run for Veterans and a former sergeant in the Marine Corps, joined the company for a four-mile morning formation run from Soifert Field to the 2nd MLG headquarters building and back.
The Run for Veterans is a non-profit organization created to promote positive mental, physical and social wellbeing programs across America. The organization’s goal is to raise money to support veterans, especially the disabled, and their families.
To achieve this, O’Toole is running approximately 3,600 miles across the country from Oceanside, Calif., to Portland, Maine. He makes stops in cities along the way to speak about the importance of assisting veterans as they make the transition from military to civilian life and former service members who struggle with post-traumatic stress and other mental, medical and emotional issues.
“Running was picked because it was the perfect delivery method for our mission,” said O’Toole, a native of Alexandria, Va. “We didn’t want to go too quickly across the country, but we also didn’t want to go too slow and lose people’s attention. Having someone run across America [is] going to naturally draw people’s attention – there’s a real Forrest Gump doing this.”
O’Toole said he wasn’t originally scheduled to run aboard Camp Lejeune, but he hopes the run will inspire the Marines to help the community.
“The run was pretty motivating,” said Lance Cpl. Caleb H. Johnson, a machinist with 2nd Maint. Bn. “It reminds us there are veterans who aren’t getting the benefits and help they need. It was nice to run for a [good] cause.”
After O’Toole was hit by a car while running through South Carolina, he received support, not only for the program, but physical help on his way to North Carolina.
Sgt. Corey J. Riggs, a platoon sergeant with the battalion who served with O’Toole and who followed his progress throughout the run, met with O’Toole and joined him on the run to help him cross the North Carolina state line.
“This was my way of saying thank you and I wanted the guys he works with to know what he’s doing [in support of the Run for Veterans],” said O’Toole. “It was awesome to get back in with the Marine Corps. I definitely got some motivation to get me into Virginia, and I’m looking to make stops in Quantico and [the Marine Barracks Washington D.C.].”
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