If Not Me Then Who…

It feels like five minutes – not five months – since I last sat down to post. Like any art worth practicing on a regular basis, writing becomes more difficult the less frequently one engages in it. So, today I’ll use lots of pretty pictures to tell my story. [Yay, pretty pictures!]

In early 2011, I was offered the opportunity to serve as one of the 26 national Volunteer Race Directors for the Travis Manion Foundation‘s 9/11 Heroes Run. Having never even been to a 5k let alone participated in one – the girl who walked the 1-mile test during high school gym class? You’re looking at her – the idea of being in charge of a race scared the s*%t out of me. Then I saw the commercial.

So, I signed up! [Cue chaos.]

Initially, I figured we’d call it a success if a few of my closest friends showed up on race day…

Maybe a handful…

Six or seven…

However…

….

On September 11, 2011, seven HUNDRED of my closest friends showed up to race. [In the words of McLovin’, ChickaChickaWahWah?] Oh yes, you heard me: Almost seven hundred people participated – and that doesn’t count volunteers (who I am forever indebted to) or vendors.

On your mark, get set, go!

Short version? It was a total success.

Before the gun went off, cadets from the local high school color guard put on an impressive performance…

Winter Springs High School Color Guard
Winter Springs High School Color Guard

A retired NYPD officer who responded to the attacks on 9/11 and a retired Navy officer spoke about their experiences…

A retired NYPD officer talks about responding to the attacks on 9/11

One of my best friends sang the National Anthem…

“Oh say can you see…”

Runners from the Wounded Warrior Project carried American flags on the entire 3.2-mile route…

He didn’t drop the flag once.
They didn’t drop the flags either.

Firefighters ran in full gear…

Yes, that’s a full tank!
She never let the flag touch the ground!

Some carried messages for the ones they love…

Say a prayer…
Spreading the Love…

All ran by this veterans’ memorial…

Veterans Memorial, Winter Springs, FL
Veterans Memorial, Winter Springs, FL

…to honor the fallen.

Rest in peace. 1st Lt. Travis Manion, KIA 4/29/07 in Iraq, and Lt. Brendan Looney, KIA 9/21/10 in Afghanistan.

Thanks to the support we received that day, we were able to contribute a percentage of the proceeds from the Orlando race to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, an organization that provides college scholarships to children of fallen special operations groups. Learn more about SOWF by clicking here, about the Travis Manion Foundation’s good works by clicking here, or by watching this short video with Gary Sinise.

Without getting too wax poetic on you, the aims of organizations like those mentioned above rock me to the core. And yes, it’s more than just having a thing for men in uniform. [And men with tattoos… who drive fast cars… but that’s a topic for another day!].

Although talk about military and war certainly seems to stand in stark opposition to our practice of ahimsa, it doesn’t stand in opposition of our practice of seva – service. Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to get involved in seva to service members through yoga without being pro-war or a G.I. Jane. Quite the contrary. Yoga for Vets offers free classes for veterans across the nation, the Exalted Warrior Foundation in Tampa, Florida, designs yoga classes specifically geared towards wounded warriors in military and veteran hospital facilities; and Yoga Warriors develops programs to help alleviate combat stress, to name a few. Additionally, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk of The Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute in Boston, Mass., has done exhaustive research on the positive effects of yoga on those suffering with PTSD and offers seminars and training programs on trauma-sensitive yoga instruction at his facility and at Kripalu. If you’re interested in service to our service members in the slightest, I urge you to reach out.

So there you go, friends: an update covering July through September and my PSA.

I can’t wait to tell you what’s been happening since September, too. Part Two coming soon!

12 thoughts on “If Not Me Then Who…

    1. Thanks, Crystal! It was amazing and I couldn’t have done it without tons of help and learning opportunities (a.k.a. huge mistakes!) along the way. The coolest part was seeing all of those people out there from practically every walk of life there to support one another. Breathtaking!

  1. Love this post. I can see the spirit of the race in your pictures. Have definitely missed your posts and glad to have them again! I am in awe of this unbelievable event that you co-ordinated!!!! xo

  2. Destiny. I was looking over my links this am and clicked on yours to check in and voila! A wonderful post. SEVA. Yes. What magnificent pretty pics and a brilliant heart felt cause.

    Your yoga seva muse plays out in many ways. Happy to have you back. Your gifts are many.

    Blessings + gratitude for taking the lead on this event. Destiny. xo

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