To honor each service member killed in the last 13 years of combat and those killed in on-post shootings, the Fort Hood Fisher House is looking for 3,500 pairs of combat boots.
“The impact of seeing the nation’s loss in one spot in front of you — covering all branches — is really profound,” said Theresa Johnson, incoming director of the Fort Hood Fisher House.
Each boot will hold the photo of a service member killed since the global war on terror began, and will line the route of the Remembrance Run, scheduled for Nov. 1 at Fort Hood. Because of Fort Hood’s history, those killed in the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting and the April 2 shooting, also will be remembered. Seventeen people died in the two events and dozens more were wounded.
“The idea behind the whole event to raise awareness for the Fisher House and everything is going to be symbolic of what the Fisher House is about and what happens here and who comes here,” Johnson said.
The Fisher House is a nonprofit that provides a “home away from home” for military personnel, veterans and their families during a medical crisis. Fort Hood’s house is located on Santa Fe Avenue near the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.
Jackie Duncan opened her Copperas Cove store, The Outpost Texas, as a collection site for the boots, because she said Johnson’s passion for the Fisher House and the run are contagious.
“I believe in what she’s doing,” said Duncan, the spouse of a retiree and mother to three veterans. “I think for Fort Hood especially with the stuff that’s happened recently, I think emotionally it will bring some closure for some people.”
Johnson comes to Fort Hood’s house from Hawaii, where she held a remembrance run the past two years, with participation peaking at about 7,000. The three-mile run isn’t competitive and it doesn’t raise any money for the organization — only awareness. Participation is free.
“It’s a run, walk or roll,” Johnson said. “We want everybody (who) can possibly come to be a part of it.”
That includes runners, walkers, strollers, pets and motorcycles, she said. All the boots and photos will be on display through Veterans Day at III Corps headquarters, Johnson said.
Duncan said people are welcome to stop in during her store hours and drop off boots. She’s not offended if they don’t stay and shop.
“I hope the community will come together and participate,” she said. “It’s also so people don’t forget, which is the big thing.”
Boot donation locations:
- Old Navy in Harker Heights
- The Texas Outpost in Copperas Cove
- Green Beans coffee locations at Fort Hood
- Fort Hood Fisher House
- The Fisher House asks donors to lace up the boots individually and place a small empty water bottle upside down in each one. Small American flags also are welcome.
- For more information, email Theresa Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register for the race, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ft-hood-fisher-5k-house-hero-remembrance-run-walk-or-roll-2014-tickets-11791114541
Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at email@example.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.