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Michigan vet runs 40 miles in 12 hours for charity

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -

Adele Garcia decided to spend her thirteenth ‘Alive Day’ in Berrien County raising money and awareness for the military.

“13 years ago, I was hit with a roadside bomb in Iraq,” said Garcia, in an interview while running along M-139 in Berrien County Thursday afternoon.

The interview was shot almost 13 years to the hour of when Garcia’s routine mission in Iraq turned into a bombing.

“I had a lot of guilt because my battle buddy – he lost his eye in the attack,” she said. “And he survived, but just a lot to struggle with over the years. And every year, on this day, I try to do something. So I thought, why not give back to some local organizations?”

But Garcia’s thirteenth ‘Alive Day’ went far beyond just doing something this year.

“Her endurance is incredible,” said Kaylee Williams, a coworker who ran alongside Garcia in part of Thursday’s run.

Garcia started running at 5 o’clock Thursday morning.

She literally didn’t stop.

“It just says how selfless she is,” said Williams. “And I think that her energy and her continued dedication to raising awareness for something she’s passionate about, I think, is something that we can all strive to be more like.”

Garcia ran 40 miles in 12 hours on Thursday.

She crisscrossed Berrien County so she could swing by each local Honor Credit Union branch.

Garcia has worked for the company, up at its Allegan branch, for the last year.

She stunned her coworkers when she recently offered to spend her thirteenth ‘Alive Day’ running to raise $13,000 for her company’s foundation.

“All of our faces were like, jaws to the table, like are you joking?” said Williams. “Is this for real? And when you could tell that is was for real, it was like, how could we not? Let’s make this happen.”

Garcia’s run started and never stopped.

Her interview with ABC57 took place during mile 23.

“It’s an honor to be able to commemorate for all the fallen that have died; that paid the ultimate sacrifice,” she said, mentioning the significance of Memorial Day being right around the corner. “You know, because of them, I’m here. I’m alive.”

Her coworkers were by her side every step of the way.

Some took turns running with her.

Others cheered her on mile by mile.

With each step, Garcia stayed solid like a soldier.

“It’s really, really an honor to run next to her and support this,” said Williams.

Though her run is over, you can still donate to Garcia’s cause by clicking here.

The money raised will go to local veterans organizations and toward scholarships for high school seniors interested in enlisting. 

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