Friday, September 10, 2010

Freedom is Not Free

I vacillated for months about linking my run to a charitable cause. Partly, because the run’s genesis was more a selfish endeavor. And partly, because I was having trouble choosing something important enough to me that I could get my head and heart wrapped around it completely.

Setting aside your political stances or your beliefs about if our actions were just, our military service people, over the last ten years, have responded to the call of duty time and time again. To date, in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan campaign) over 5,500 U.S. Service men and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our right to do whatever it is we want to do on a daily basis. Another 39,000 service people or so have been wounded in these two campaigns. Many of the wounded have ended up with devastating, life changing injuries and illnesses.

The average recruit out of boot camp makes $1,622 a month. Using a 60 hour work week, they are paid about $7 an hour…about what you can make at a Subway slinging meat. Our military is obviously not doing it for the money.  It is hard financially to be in the military.

You can say what you want about the choices our government leaders have made. What cannot be debated are the sacrifices our young men and women have made in our collective defense. I can “Run Across America” freely because of the 24 X 7 X 365 work our service people do defending our way of life here.

I have decided to link my Run Across America to a charitable organization called “Freedom is Not Free”. Freedom is Not Free is a San Diego based, 501c3 that raises money and makes “micro” grants to service people and families of the killed or wounded to help them with short term needs associated with their service in Iraq and Afghanistan.   Click here to go to Freedom's Website

I had a long chat with Cathy Pratt, Freedom’s Development Director, about the organization and what it stands for a few days ago. I learned that the average grant is usually between $400-$800 dollars with some that go over $1,000. The grants go to people for simple needs like purchasing plane tickets to meet loved ones at hospitals, costs associated with medical care, food, funeral expenses (sadly), living expenses, utilities, and other single time expenditures. The grants don’t go to things like retiring credit card debt or the like. The grants all go to Purple Heart recipients and their families, and the families of the fatally injured. The hardest hitting thought I walked away with after talking to Cathy is that by raising even a small sum, I can make a huge difference to a lot of people at $400-$800 per grant.

At minimum, I am going to put a link and some information on this blog about Freedom is Not Free and a direct link to their donation page. I am also working on a few other connections and events tied to this cause that may help generate some funds along the path of my run. More on those events as the plans ripen.

I ask that if you want to help me support our troops through this run, please contribute whatever you see fit. Even a little bit can help someone through a rough spot. Our service people are defending you and me!

Thanks for your continued well wishes and support for my run! Only 6 months more to go before the first step on my journey! Training has resumed and I am working hard to build mileage, a support team and the detailed plans to propel me 2,500 miles in 50 Days!



  1. Ed, it was great talking with you today and look forward to being a 'partner' on your great quest. One question: if you are burning 9,000 calories a day (!), what are you consuming during the day to make up for that loss and then some?

    john garcia

  2. Whatever is slow enough to stand in my way when I am hungry! Cars, small animals, road signs....

    Seriously - heavy reliance on nuts, complex carbs and high calorie sports products.

    It is going to be a challenge. I have been practicing!