Area veteran to run 100 miles to honor fallen comrade
Twelve active-duty and/or former U.S. Marines will run 100 miles in 26 hours to honor their fallen Marine brother, Capt. Tyler B. Swisher, and raise funds for the education of Swisher's three children and Operation Gift Cards, a non-profit organization that distributes gift cards to recovering warriors at Bethesda and Walter Reed Hospitals.
Swisher died on Oct. 21, 2005, while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Al Amariyah, Iraq, when his vehicle was struck by an IED.
Swisher was survived by his wife, Stephanie, and three children, Ashleigh, Madison and Jacob, who are residents of Boone. One of the Marines running for Swisher will be Boone resident and Appalachian State University professor Trevor Stewart. Stewart and Swisher served together on presidential guard duty in 1996.
Several U.S. Marines who served alongside Swisher will begin a 100-mile journey in his combat boots from the Cozy Inn, Thurmont, Md., at 6 a.m. on Aug. 11 and run through Maryland and Virginia and into the District of Columbia.
The Marines will stop briefly at the Marine Barracks 8th & I, where they will be joined by a contingent of Marines to finish the remaining 5 miles to Arlington National Cemetery, Section 60, Site 8254.
They intend to arrive at Swisher's graveside by 8 a.m. on Aug. 12 in order to hold brief ceremony honoring their fallen brother.
Swisher's Marine brothers learned of his death last year and decided to honor him with a physical feat deserving of his respect. The Marines came together and formed a nonprofit, Always Brothers.
The mission of Always Brothers is to serve veterans and their families with honor and integrity. To learn more about Always Brothers or donate to the cause, visit http://www.alwaysbrothers.org.