My view of the world changed on March 10, 2015. I was sitting in my office at my parent’s house early that morning. My dad walked in and said “There’s been a helicopter go down in the Gulf. The local news is saying there were special operations Marines in the aircraft.” My heart immediately sank. “Special operations” and “Marines” can usually only mean one thing — MARSOC. As the local news began to gather at the crash site, we began to see pieces of the aircraft wash ashore. We prayed and prayed for their safety, for their families, and for the MARSOC community as a whole. I knew in my heart that if there was anyone who could have survived the crash, it would be these guys.
My husband and I grew up about 60 miles from the site of the crash and my husband was deployed with 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at that time. Our hearts crumbled. This was the closest I had ever been to death in the military. I knew it was my responsibility as a fellow MARSOC wife to do something to help these families. They were our friends, friends of our community, and our kindred spirits. I found a local race supporting military heroes and signed up to be a Miles for MARSOC athlete. On April 4th, I ran a 5K in support of the MARSOC Foundation. Through my fundraising I raised more than $8,000 for the Foundation, including a corporate sponsorship to have the names of the 7 MARSOC Marines engraved on the memorial at the MARSOC headquarters in Stone Bay, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. I have participated in a lot of races in my lifetime, but this one was different. I hadn’t run any since the birth of our son and it was a struggle, but all throughout the race I kept going and telling myself “we will not leave these families behind.” You see, one of the Raiders’ sayings is “Never Above You, Never Below You, Always Beside You.” I felt the spirit of the community as we ran that day. The true spirit of 7 warriors who left behind families and a community who love them dearly.
You can support the MARSOC Foundation to continue helping these families by visiting the link below or you can support the funding for the monument at Navarre Beach in Florida to commemorate their lives. If you can’t give, please continue to pray for their families.
http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/KelliSalter/miles-for-marsoc — MARSOC Foundation