At running events, volunteers ensure the runners have everything they need to complete the distance. Whether it is tending to needs for hydration, nutrition, taping a swollen ankle, etc, volunteers have a direct impact on the runner’s ability to finish the event. For runs of distances greater than 26.2 miles (ultra marathons), runners often recruit their own “crew” of volunteers to help them keep a target pace, stay focused, maintain motivation.
The Honor Flag Runner Crew is made up of partners who join as a partner in the mission to sponsor an Honor Flag Run, covering the expense of an event. Crew Members (Sponsors) cover the cost of the 3’x5′ embroidered flag and laminated bib that are issued to the Honoree or surviving family member. The sponsorship also includes limited edition Crew Member’s Challenge Coin and certificate that bears the photo, name, rank, service branch of the honoree. The cost of sponsorship is $35 and includes shipping/delivery to the service member and Crew Member.
The design of the Challenge Coin was a collaborative effort incorporating feedback from those who follow Honor Flag Runner on social media, honorees and supporters. Each symbol, color and placement was deliberate to be descriptive of the Honor Flag Runner Mission (to honor those who served) and to be an encouragement to prompt action to honor and remember those who served.
Design elements of the coin are described below for reference:
FRONT OF COIN:
“Honor Flag Runner Crew”: “Crew” designation: in the running community, refers the those who support the runner and ensure they have what they need to safely finish the run. As a sponsor, Honor Flag Runner crew members cover the cost of the ceremonial products and make the honor run possible.
“Gold Star”: The Gold Star first made an appearance during World War I. The Gold Star signified the family’s pride in the loved one’s sacrifice rather than the mourning of their personal loss (www.goldstarfamilies.com). The intent of including this symbol on the coin is to honor families who grieve the loss of their hero daily.
“No 22”: The Veterans Administration published statistics in 2012 reporting 22 veterans succumbed to suicide each day. While there is some question as to the actual count, even a single veteran suicide over any period of time is still too many. The intent is to elevate awareness and inspire internal or external intervention.
“Medal”: Intended to emphasize Biblical direction to “press on toward the goal”; it is intended to inspire perseverance until completion of the mission.
Philippians 3:14: I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
“Distressed Silhouette”: the scribbled silhouette and slightly bowed head acknowledges the mental battle many suffer from when battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The intent is to elevate awareness of this challenge faced by so many.
“Battle Cross”: In war, it is impractical to prepare for and conduct a full memorial service/ceremony. The Battle Cross is staged in honor of a fallen brother or sister-in-arms (https://www.wearethemighty.com/origin-of-the-battlefield-cross); the intent of this symbol is to recognize the losses battle-brothers and sisters endure in war.
“Honor Flag Runner”: The silhouette of the runner emphasizes that Honor Flag Runs are not about the runner, rather they are about honoring a deserving service member, veteran, hometown hero or patriot. The bold contrast of the red, white and blue compared the silhouette shift the focus from the runner to Old Glory.
BACK OF COIN:
“May we strive to be a population worthy of the sacrifices paid to secure our freedoms”: This phrase was inspired by a conversation with Janice Chance, Gold Star Mother of Capt. Jesse Melton, III (USMC), who honors her son by serving others – to be worthy of his sacrifice.
“USA”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in the United States Army and the United States Army Reserve.
“USN”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in the United States Navy and the United States Navy Reserve.
“USAF”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in the United States Air Force and the United States Air Force Reserve.
“USMC”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Marine Corps Reserve.
“USCG”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in the United States Coast Guard and the United States Coast Guard Reserve.
“The Badge”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in law enforcement or in a capacity that supports law enforcement.
“Maltese Cross”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in fire protection or in a capacity that supports a fire department.
“Star of Life”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in healthcare or in a capacity that supports healthcare.
“State Guard Shield”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in a State Defense Force or in a capacity that supports state defense forces.
“National Guard”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in a State National Guard or in a capacity that supports the National Guard.
“Air National Guard”: Honors those who have served and currently serve in a State Air National Guard or in a capacity that supports the National Guard.
“Cross”: A symbol that reminds us that we can be forgiven and restored in Christ. For those who suffer, we pray for God’s blessing, grace, healing, strength and comfort be upon them and their children for generations.
“Red Background”: The red background serves as a reminder of the blood that has been spilled to secure our freedoms.