Overnight and into the early morning, our nook of an Army post in rural Oklahoma received about 5 inches of snow. I am hoping that is it for today at least, considering more snow is expected to fall throughout the week. I do not need to remind you that while I appreciate the scenery snow brings to the view outside of my window, I absolutely LOATHE being cooped up inside without a chance to get out. Because we do not live in a plow-friendly part of the country, I thought all hope was lost in running – the gym was closed, and the house is too tiny to put a treadmill in… until I actually heard a plow go by and reveal a CLEAR canvas of road – not even ice underneath the snow! Everything was at a standstill; snow had stopped and there wasn’t wind whipping around – I knew it was time to hear the therapeutic crunch of snow and ice beneath my feet and soak in some me time.
Today I ran for quite the trifecta of individuals. While I did not know these individuals, I have connections to them in one way or another. It was easy to have these men on my mind during my short run, and I am lucky to have these connections to them in my life, for more reasons than one.
CPT. Kevin Landeck, was an Illinois native who perished 7 years ago in Iraq when an IED went off near his vehicle. Kevin was stationed out of Ft. Drum, and prior to that he went through Purdue’s ROTC program where he met his wife, 2LT Bethany Landeck. Kevin was touted as a natural born leader, a ‘man’s man’, and was quick to make his friends laugh.
SFC Adrian Elizalde is a name I have heard for years. I ran with his amazing sister, Rachel, for years while we were stationed at Ft. Lewis. His birthday was this past week, and I wish so deeply I would have had a chance to meet this outstanding individual. His loss was felt by many, going back to even his childhood community. Not only did he excel in his military career, but he also was an avid fitness junkie, spending his free time training in mixed martial arts.
SFC Michael Tully was killed alongside SFC Elizalde from an IED. SFC Tully seemed destined to be in the military, jumpstarting the process at the age of 17 when he joined the Marine Corps. He later joined the Army, where he went on to have an impressive career that sent him into Iraq on his second tour as a combat medic. Striving to complete challenges in both work and personal life, SFC Tully also was a certified Scuba diver, and completed Ranger school.