Amanda Herrnkind said she didn’t know she was going to call out the names until the moment hit.
The veteran’s outreach coordinator for St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care was participating virtually in a Marine Corps Marathon when she came up to the Golden Mile – a section of the run with signs featuring pictures of fallen soldiers.
“I ran and then called out their names. I didn’t know I was going to do it until I got there. I wanted to say their names so that they are not forgotten,” said Herrnkind, who began the run about 7 a.m. Sunday in Rockledge and finished about noon at the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center in Merritt Island.
The virtual run – traditionally held in Washington, D.C. but this year run virtually by individuals because of COVID-19 – was seen by organizers as a way to honor the nation’s military and to raise awareness about veterans’ issues. It was supported by St. Francis Reflections Lifestage Care and the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center.
“It’s something I do to honor and remember those who served. My grandfather was a colonel in the U.S. Army during World War II,” the 42-year-old said shortly after the run.
In other news:Tropical Storm Zeta could be a hurricane by Tuesday
Herrnkind, whose run wound through several neighborhoods, was joined by more than a dozen members of the Space Coast Young Marines during five miles of the run. The weather was cool during the first portion of the day but quickly grew humid, Herrnkind said.
“It was rough. It was pleasant in the morning with the first 12 miles being just gorgeous. After that, it was just humid. I had to walk a little after that,” Herrnkind said.
Several active duty and retired military service members turned out to encourage Herrnkind and to thank her for her efforts at drawing attention to military service.
“What she did was amazing. It honors all the service members and keeps our traditions alive,” said Gunnery Sgt. Karla Revert, a marine from Ponce, Puerto Rico. Revert, stationed at Patrick Air Force Base, was one of about 50 people who turned out for the closing ceremony.
“It shows that patriotism doesn’t stop with the uniform.”
J.D. Gallop is a Criminal Justice/Breaking News Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Gallop at 321-917-4641 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @JDGallop.