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Marine Mom Honors Wounded/Fallen in Combat Boots

On March 23, 2014, Marilyn Olson of Bigfork, Montana will be participating in the 24th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March; a challenging 26.2 mile march through the high desert terrain of White Sands Missile Range in combat boots to honor of the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health and, in many cases, their very lives. But her efforts go beyond just that; honoring four US Marines who sacrificed their very lives during her son's deployment to Afghanistan last year and to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project to support those who returned with both visible and invisible scars of war. Marilyn is the mother of three active duty US Marines; two sons and a daughter. In 2012, her oldest Marine served during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF 112) with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. She was on the phone with her son when Marines called out "River City" and the phone went dead. They lost four Marines during Operation Jaws in the Sangin Valley of Helmand Province; her son's squad was one of the initial forces. She has since made it her mission to honor those four US Marines who lost their lives during that operation. She has been blessed to have her travel expenses from Montana to New Mexico paid for by her son's local VFW Post 4042, the Flathead Marines, her local Ladies Auxilliary and many hometown supporters. She has been training all summer; running distances from 5k to half marathons and rucking with a 20# pack in combat boots. Social Services Director by day, Marilyn spends her time off dedicated to honoring military members. She also works with Montana Wounded Warriors, an all volunteer organization that provides all expense paid hunting & fishing opportunities to Montana vets of the Iraq & Afghanistan wars.

Kalispell, MT