Sailor goes the distance to aid wounded veterans
Stars and Stripes May 22, 2008
CAMP COURTNEY, Okinawa — About 50 miles.
That’s how far Master Chief Petty Officer Mark Busam, 48, will go to support something he believes in.
He proved it when he ran the 51 miles between Kadena Air Base’s Gate 1 and Okuma Resort to raise awareness for the many organizations that support wounded veterans.
Busam, the command master chief petty officer at III Marine Expeditionary Force, attended a conference in Washington earlier this year where he met a sailor and a soldier who had both lost legs in Iraq.
Inspired by their attitudes, he wanted to raise awareness about organizations that help wounded veterans, such as the Wounded Warrior Project, the American Legion and service-run programs such as the Navy’s Safe Harbor and the Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Battalion.
"I didn’t want to single out one organization, I just want to encourage people to support the organizations that support" wounded veterans, he said.
Busam has run marathons before, but for shorter distances.
He and Anna Boom, a fellow runner who is a Marine contractor here, decided on the endurance run and thought Saturday would be appropriate because it was Armed Forces Day, Busam said.
Just before midnight, as Friday was about to turn into Saturday, another friend came out at the last minute to run with them. As most people were heading off to sleep, Busam and his group were pounding the pavement between Kadena and Okuma — a journey that took them 10½ hours to complete.
It wasn’t easy, Busam said.
"The last part was just … you could see Okuma but it just didn’t seem like it was getting any closer."
Quitting wasn’t an option, especially when he remembered the wounded vets he was running to support, he said.
"This was really small in comparison to what these people do day in and day out," Busam said.
If someone asked him to run that distance again next year to raise awareness for the support programs, he probably would, he said.