Little Wife On the Prairie

When you are everything to everyone, well, you had better act like you have it all together.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Matt and the Bataan

Most of you who read my blog probably know that recently, Matt took on the challenge of running a marathon.  He found out about the Bataan Memorial Death March from a few guys at work who were planning on running it.  This marathon is not run on typical terrain.  Instead of flat asphalt, it is sometimes rocky, sometimes sandy with lots of up and down on the hills.  So it was a rough choice for a first marathon.  But he was dedicated.  Throughout his training he kept in mind the two men he intended to honor with his march..  The first is John Vernon Mullins.  He fought with the Marine Corps at Okinawa and Peleliu in WW2. Matt also honored his cousin Luther Ragsdale who was a Bataan survivor. He passed away in 1995. Having these two men in mind along with all of the others who have served our country made this race so much more meaningful for him. 

Matt was nervous for weeks before the march.  I was nervous too.  When the march weekend came around, we made a big trip of it.  We got to visit some NM family and got to see so many beautiful places across the state.  The morning of the march Matt left us in the hotel at 4:00 in the morning to drive out to White Sands Missile Range where the march was set to start at 6:30am.  He texted me at 7:15am to tell me that he was finally running.  I felt nauseous. 

The kids and I slept in, had breakfast, packed up the car and prayed continuously for our daddy.  We had a relaxing morning and left at 11:00 to meet Matt at the march.  While we were on the road Matt called to say he was done with mile 20!  I couldn't believe he could still talk!  He told me that he was running along the road that we would be driving in on so we should look for him.  We were driving behind Matt's dad and grandparents so I called them and told them to watch for him!  We drove slowly past the long line of marchers and never saw Matt.  As my eyes followed the crowd up the trail I saw a dot way up on the top of the hill.  The dot started waving.  It was Matt!!!  I stuck my arm out of the window and waved like a crazy person.  We pulled over to watch him and realized that he was not running away from us with the rest of the crowd but he was running towards us!  

Matt's grandmother was upset.  She said, "No Matt!  You little dummy!  Keep going!"  I laughed and told the kids to run.  As we ran to meet our daddy, I started snapping pictures.   

Can you see Matt?  He is running to his kids.  Beautiful. 

Zaddok made it first.

We were so happy to see him!
He later told me that he was getting very tired at that point.  He said that seeing us gave him renewed energy to push through.

His dad Rod, came over to hug him before he ran off to join the others.

Bye honey!  You're almost there!  We are praying!
The next time we saw him was here, at the finish line.  He is running with his buddy Byron.  We were yelling for him and he was looking for us.

They crossed with cheers from the crowd!  I know the people in the background don't look very excited but the atmosphere was awesome.  Everyone was cheering for the marchers coming across the line.

Here, he is so happy to be done!

He immediately grabbed up his baby boy. 

Zaddok stuck by his daddy's side.

These were a few of Matt's work buddies that ran the race.

This was right after Grandmother told Matt what a little dummy he was for running back down to us.  She is so funny.  She couldn't stand that he had done that.  I think she was worried about him.  I love that lady.

This is a tear-jerker.  Matt ran his heart out to honor this man. He is John Vernon Mullins to the world but Popper to us. 

He gave Matt his thumbs-up seal of approval.  Aren't they handsome?  We were all so proud of Matt.  It was an inspiring day.

He deserves so much more honor than one race can give. He started out life working hard and struggling to make it. He
was fixing cars by the time he was 6. He fought for his country and saw many friends fall. He can tell stories of horror and stories of life. He married Grandmother and had a strong family. He served the country again as a NM State Policeman and later as a Sheriff. We all wish we could download his mind so that we will know the things he knows. We still call him anytime we need advice on anything mechanical. Most of the time, he can tell us exactly what to do. He holds the respect and admiration of everyone who knows him. Not because he demands it but because he loves us and we all know it. We love you Popper. They just don't make 'em like you anymore.

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Grandmolly said...

So sweet, Rachelle...THank you for putting this together so eloquently! You are so gifted! I love you!

Caige Idgaf said...

Hi. Great sorry especially since it has my long lost Uncle Vernon and Aunt Mary in it. Please someone contact me. I've been searching for them for some time now.
Thank you.
Cindy Mullins last daughter of Ollie Fletcher Mullins.

Caige Idgaf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.