July 4th Memorial Run in Afghanistan
On April 4, the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) of the Ohio National Guard was caught in an attack by a suicide bomber while deployed in Afghanistan. The team lost three of its members and several others were injured when a motorcyclist detonated an IED in a park that killed 13 in all.
Sergeant First Class Shawn Hannon, 44, of Grove City, leaves behind his wife and infant son. A lawyer, as well as National Guard service member, he was chief legal counsel for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services. Sergeant First Class Jeffrey Rieck, 45, of Columbus, is survived by his 15-year-old son. Captain Nick Rozanski, 36, of Dublin, after three deployments, leaves behind his wife and two young daughters.
Three months later, Hannon, Rieck, and Rozanski’s unit, still deployed in Afghanistan, organized a memorial run in their honor to be held on Independence Day.
Having heard their intent, Freedom Alliance purchased 150 T-shirts, which read, “Camp Mike Spann Afghanistan: Independence Day Run. Proudly Sponsored by Freedom Alliance.” (Mike Spann, for whom the camp is named, is also a Freedom Alliance Defender of Freedom recipient.)
“I cannot express the deep gratitude I feel for you and your organization in your support of these deployed soldiers,” said Michael Beasely, the father of the commander who organized the memorial run. “As a retired Army officer myself, with deployment tours in Iraq, some of my most cherished memorabilia are these special event T-shirts I have framed and hanging in my den. These T-shirts remind us of the camaraderie we shared as soldiers in tough and difficult situations, and you and your organization make this possible. Again, thanks for all you do in supporting the brigade and the soldiers.”
The 37th IBCT, although devastated by the three losses, continues to faithfully carry on their tour, committed to the cause that their fellow soldiers died serving.