His pass through Imperial Sunday marked halfway point
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
For many, just the thought of running a couple of miles seems a daunting feat.
But Jamie Summerlin of Morgantown, WV is running nearly 3,400 miles across the United States to raise awareness and funds for U.S. veterans.
Summerlin and his family, traveling with him in an RV, passed through Imperial Sunday, marking the halfway point of his journey.
He had a police escort through town, along with an Imperial Volunteer Fire Department unit, two members of the Frenchman Valley Riders and a pair of Chase County Schools’ distance runners.
“The small towns like this are what it’s all about,” he said during a break on the side of the road.
He said the warmth and welcoming he felt here was much appreciated.
“That’s the same kind of ‘community’ we should extend to our veterans,” he said.
Beginning on the shores of Sunset Bay in Coos County, Ore., on March 26 and ending July 3 in Annapolis, Md. at the Naval Academy, Summerlin’s “Run for Wounded Warriors” is designed to honor and empower wounded veterans through the Wounded Warriors Project (WWP).
A big celebration will follow in Annapolis on the Fourth of July.
“The idea to run across the country came from a conversation I had with my wife in 2010—one of those ‘life-talks,’” said Summerlin.
The former Marine who served in the Gulf War said the thought of doing something extreme had been on his mind for awhile.
He and his wife, Tiffany, also a former Marine, have seen how veterans organizations had impacted the lives of a few of their friends.
“I wanted to bring awareness and honor those warriors who had sacrificed life and limb to protect our freedoms,” he said.
So, the ultra-marathoner set a goal of raising $500,000 for the Wounded Warriors Project and other organizations that aid veterans in finding jobs and housing.
Summerlin, who trained two years in preparation, averages 34 miles per day and runs seven days a week to finish in 100 days.
The toughest part of his trek so far was the start, he noted, when he left Oregon, his wife’s home state. He ran through wind, rain and hail, and on the sixth day, faced snow. It was so bad, he said, chains had to be put on the RV.
While it’s still challenging to run daily, he welcomed the flatness of Nebraska.
He was right on schedule Sunday as he ran from Lamar to Wauneta. The family spent the night at Enders Lake.
A man camping at the lake offered to pay the family’s overnight fees, and another gave a donation.
“That’s what we are trying to do, raise awareness for our veterans and raise money,” he said.
He’s hoping one of the national news programs such as “Good Morning America” will pick up his story, which will do wonders for his fund-raising, he said.
So far, that hasn’t happened. but Summerlin isn’t daunted.
“If what I’m doing will put a smile on one veteran’s face, I’ve done my job,” he said.
From Wauneta, he ran to McCook on Monday, and was scheduled to reach Oberlin, Kan., Tuesday.
Summerlin’s Running for Wounded Warriors website is: www.runforwwp.com, where people can make a tax-deductible contribution toward his effort and follow his running schedule.