CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Running 345 miles is a short distance compared to the journey some wounded warriors have to travel.
Gunnery Sgt. James J. Dacey, company gunnery sergeant for Support Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, began his challenge aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., to National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., Oct. 22.
The North Arlington, N.J., native is conducting the run to raise awareness about our nation’s wounded warriors and for the service members we’ve lost to the war.
Whether people thought Dacey was crazy or thought it was a great idea, there was no doubt he would take on the challenge said Debbie Melamed, Dacey’s mother and safety driver for the run.
“I’m very proud of my son,” Melamed said. “I’m not surprised he’s doing it. He has never second guessed himself either. Once he said he was going to do it that was it. He’s always been a determined person ever since I can remember.”
Melamed was given three weeks of leave from her job at a law firm in Hackensack, N.J., to help her son along his run.
“I was amazed he asked me to be the one to help him,” she said. “This is a huge responsibility, and I’m very proud of him for what he’s doing in honor of his fellow troops.”
As her son runs his course, Melamed will drive ahead and check the route for him. She will then wait at the half way point each day for Dacey and ensure all is well. If Dacey isn’t at the destination within a certain amount of time, his mother will back track and check on him. If needed, they will stop the run and take proper precaution to keep Dacey safe from injury.
“We’ve taken the right steps to make sure we are ready for the run,” Dacey said. “Safety was a big concern.”
With his mother ready to go and on her way to the half way point for the day, Dacey was off. He bid farewell to all in attendance.
“Thank you to everyone who came to watch me begin,” he said. “Thank you for all the support.”
As Dacey ran down the road, those in attendance sent him off with a motivational “OORAH.”
To track his progress, follow “The Gunny’s Run to Bethesda” on Facebook or make a donation at the link below.