Running with purpose

Courtesy photo

By Tonya Fennell: Cannon Connections

Thousands of people will travel to Washington, D.C. Saturday to run and remember at the 2007 Marine Corps Marathon.

One of those runners will be Pernethea Evans who is the widow of Capt. Kermit O. Evans.

The Cannon Air Force Base captain was killed in Iraq Dec. 3, 2006.

Pernethea Evans will run the 10K on Team TAPS, or Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

TAPS is a national nonprofit organization serving families, friends and military service members who have been affected by a death in the armed services. The organization offers peer support, crisis response and intervention, grief care and counseling resources and long-term survivor wellness.

Pernethea Evans said she chose to participate in the marathon because TAPS representatives helped her tremendously after her husband’s death. “I received lots of phone calls and e-mails,” she said. “They were always checking in with me to make sure I was OK.”

Although she admits she isn’t exactly an athlete, Pernethea Evans said she has been utilizing a trainer to ready herself for the upcoming marathon. “I’ve been training for about four weeks now,” she said. “I’m strengthening my core and working on my conditioning.”

Pernethea Evans said she plans to travel to Washington, D.C. with her sister and two-year-old son, Kermit Jr. Once she arrives, Pernethea plans to meet up with another widow she met through TAPS. “Our husbands were killed in the same accident,” she said. “This is the first time we will meet face to face.”

Although Pernethea Evans will run in honor of her husband, she will also be raising money for TAPS. She said she initially set out to raise $1,000 but after raising that amount so quickly she raised it to $3,500.

“All this money will be used to fund TAPS programs,” she said. “TAPS and the families of those who have died in service to America greatly appreciate all the support and donations.”

On Oct. 24, she had raised $3,370.