An extended-time San Diego man has honored the lives of 31 fallen American heroes with a most unusual Memorial Day feat.
Mike Rouse, 68, ran 31 miles every single day of May to honor 31 army members killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in August 2011.
“I heard one of the dad’s say only a couple of days in the past that that is Memorial Day for most individuals. Once a year, we honor, we pay respects. He stated, ‘I’ve Memorial Day each single day of my life, and I by no means will cease as a result of I lost my most treasured reward, my solely son,'” Rouse recalled.
Rouse, who now lives in Abilene, Texas, completed his exhausting and rewarding journey simply after 2:30 p.m. on Memorial Day outdoors of the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado.
He was cheered on by a bunch of onlookers holding small American flags, and showered with crimson, white, and blue streamers.
Rouse ran his remaining mile holding a U.S. flag, and as he completed, took off his hat, dropped his head in his hand and mirrored on the lives lost.
“It’s all about giving back, that’s what makes your life better. It’s not what you get, it’s what you give,” Rouse stated.
Memorial Day 2021 at Miramar National Cemetery
For every day of his runs, which averaged between 5 and 6 hours a day, Rouse wore a shirt with a unique identify of the 31 servicemembers killed within the crash.
Of the 30 people killed, 22 have been Navy SEALS. A service canine named Bart was additionally killed.
Among these SEALS, was a person Rouse thought-about one of his greatest buddies, John “JT” Tumilson. The pair met by way of a working group.
“JT was a beautiful man. He was 6-foot-4, 230 pounds of lean, mean fighting machine. He was a beautiful man. Losing him was just a great, great loss. It was a devasting day for me and has been ever since,” Rouse stated.
Rouse has an inspiring story himself. He started working in 1986 whereas in jail for a drug offense. But he stated it gave function, although he might barely run two miles within the jail courtyard.
“It was during that time that I realized, that’s not how I want to live my life. And so, I made a change, and said I’m going to give back something and I’m going to change who I am,” Rouse defined.
Rouse teamed up with a charity group referred to as the Boot Campaign to increase money and consciousness for army veterans and their households.
“When I think of their loss and that pain, for me to hurt just a little bit, for four or five or six hours a day, is nothing. Its my opportunity to give back just a small portion of what was given to all of us,” he stated.