Since I have lost 70 pounds I have started to challenge myself more physically. My Mom just shakes her head on Skype and asks me if I am trying to kill myself. She did again on Mother's Day. I am not. It is just nice to be able to, while still struggling greatly, do things that are hard. Really hard. Like crazy hard for a guy my size. Tough Mudder at 360 pounds 3 years ago was the start, Goruck a couple months back and my next challenge is Carry the Load over Memorial Day weekend. Watch this video to learn more about Carry the Load.
I get very emotional then it comes to veterans. My Dad is one and I spent 20 years in his home as a military brat. I have seen the sacrifice members of the military make personally in my life.
Memorial Day isn't about hot dogs and hamburgers or a day off of work. It is a day to remember those who have sacrificed all. So with the help of Alex, a friend, I contacted my Texas Representative Patrick Fallon to contact a widow of a fallen soldier from my area. He provided Katie's email and I asked her permission to walk in her husband's name. I quickly got that permission from her. I posted something about this on Facebook and another friend who owns a t-shirt company mentioned that they knew the family and would love to print a memorial t-shirt for me to wear at the event after they got permission to use his image. I am hoping to meet the family at some point but I want that to come at their comfort and their timing.
So for me it is a great honor to be walking for Sergent Enrique Mondragon who was killed in action at the age of 23. 23 years old!!! He was so young and had so much life ahead of him yet he chose to put his needs and wants aside to serve for me and you. I have clipped some things from the internet on Sgt. Mondragon to share his story and take no credit:
Sergent Enrique Mondragon, 23, of The Colony Texas assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachement, 173rd Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Bamber, Germany, died December 24, 2012 in Baraki Barak, Afghanistan, from injuries caused by small-arms fire.
He was born June 20, 1989 in Dallas, Texas. He married Katie Arguea on October 3rd, 2009 in Carrollton. Enrique is survived by his wife, Katie and their 2 year old daughter, Beverly.
“Anything we said we might do he would make it happen,” said his wife, Katie Mondragon of Little Elm. “We were 17 and he would always say we would have a house by the age of 25. He made it happen at the age of 23.”
Mondragon was born and raised in Dallas, where he attended Hillcrest High School. In 2007, he graduated from The Colony High School, which he attended his junior and senior years.
He met Katie Argueta, a Little Elm High School graduate, while they were both working at J.C. Penney.
Mondragon worked at several jobs after J.C. Penney and attended a trade school, where he studied computer-aided design.
“He tried, but he just couldn’t afford it — that was the main reason he joined the Army,” his wife said.
He went to basic training in March 2009. The couple married in October 2009.
Mondragon — Rick to his civilian friends and Dragon to his Army buddies — loved serving in the military, his wife said. He hoped to find related work — possibly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement — after completing his Army service.
“He was a big dreamer and a very motivated person,” Katie Mondragon said. “He loved his family a lot. He just wanted the best for my daughter and me — that’s why he did what he did.”
Mondragon was a military police officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 173rd Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Combat Team based in Bamberg, Germany.
My personal hope is that I will honor Sergent Mondragon by walking about 40 miles with 40 pounds on my back as I "carry him". He is definitely worthy of the honor.