Runners Gather to Support Wounded Warrior Project


KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- There are few causes that Soldiers, civilians and local nationals in a deployed environment come together in support of. August 11, the Joint Sustainment Command- Afghanistan Chapter of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club sponsored such a cause, bringing roughly 475 participants together in support of a run for the Wounded Warrior Project at Kandahar Airfield.

The JSC-A Chapter, headquartered by the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) based in Fort Knox, Ky., hosted a week-long fundraiser that culminated in a 5k run and a check presentation of nearly $11,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Sergeant Audie Murphy Club members held several meetings to decide how to give back to the KAF community. That is, after all, what the club is all about, according to Sgt. 1st Class Chestine Sanders, the brigade operations non commissioned officer in charge for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade and chapter secretary, originally from Pine Bluff, Arkansas. "The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is an elite group of NCOs that give back to the community."

"We thought it would be a good way to let the wounded warriors know they're not forgotten," said Master Sgt. Wyman E. Loveless Jr., senior enlisted advisor for religious support operations for JSC-A and the chapter president, originally from Lawton, Okla. "It's one thing to say something, but it sends a totally different message when you do something for someone."

One of the participants of the run, Sgt. 1st Class Scott D. Smith, a decorated wounded warrior from San Antonio, Texas, definitely received the message. "He did a lot in his time, and the club is living on in his name by supporting the rest of the wounded warriors."

The "he" Smith referred to was Sgt. Audie Leon Murphy himself. Murphy was the most decorated combat soldier of World War II. The advocate for veterans was awarded the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life and above the call of duty." The S.A.M.C. was founded on the principles Murphy exemplified.

The wounded warriors appreciated the support the S.A.M.C. generated according to Staff Sgt. Scott Mason, the KAF Wounded Warrior Center NCOIC, originally from Rochester, N.Y. Mason attended the event and received the check on behalf of the center. "They [wounded warriors] were also surprised by the amount [of the check]," said Mason. The center plans to use the money to buy the necessary items first, such as eye protection, shower shoes and wounded warrior physical training gear.

Appreciation was the common theme from all the people involved in the event. The participants and club members were appreciative of the sacrifices the wounded warriors made. The wounded warriors were grateful for the sentiment the club members and participants showed. The club members were thankful for the support of the community as well.

"We want to let people know there's no way we could've done this event without people's support," said Loveless. "The amount of support we have received over this last week has been overwhelming."

The JSC-A Chapter is scheduled to host several more events in support of Soldiers in the coming months.

"It's just about taking care of Soldiers," said Sgt. Maj. Cynthia R. Johnson, operations senior enlisted advisor for JSC-A and S.A.M.C. member. "That's just what we do."

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