SIMPSONVILLE – Simpsonville resident Robin Darnell will honor Captain Kimberly Hampton of Easley by displaying the fallen hero’s picture and carrying her story to Arlington National Cemetery during the 2014 Ruck To Remember to be held Memorial Day weekend.
A fundraising event supporting injured military personnel and their families, Ruck To Remember is a grueling 60-mile trek that begins at Harpers Ferry, W.Va., on May 24, and concludes with a sunrise reflection and hike across Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C., into Arlington National Cemetery on May 26.
Presented by Washington DC-based S.E.R.E. Performance, Ruck To Remember will benefit the Semper Fi Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and its program America’s Fund. The organization provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, and directs urgently needed resources to post 9/11 service members who meet the criteria for assistance from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Reserves. Since its founding in 2004, the Semper Fi Fund has issued more than 70,500 grants totaling close to $89 million to more than 11,500 American soldiers and their families.
Each of the 50 team members participating in Ruck To Remember will carry with them the story of a fallen warrior, with the team stopping at key rally points along the 60-mile hike to share one of the accounts. “It’s not just the story of how they died, but more about how they lived,” Darnell said. “The reflection recharges our hearts and fuels our bodies with the determination to complete the mission.” The mission of remembrance includes the stories of fallen warriors from World War II to the present, Darnell said.
“Kimberly was a true American hero and I chose to honor her along with my favorite Gold Star Mom, Ann Hampton, who has a special place in my heart,” Darnell said. Capt. Hampton died when the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter she was flying was shot down near Fallujah, Iraq on January 2, 2004. She was the first female military pilot in U.S. history to be shot down and killed as a result of hostile fire and the first female combat casualty in Iraq from South Carolina.
Darnell’s participation in an overnight endurance challenge presented by S.E.R.E. Performance in Atlanta last year led to an invitation to join the 2014 Ruck to Remember. In addition to her required gear and extras like food and water, Darnell will carry an additional 10 pounds in her ruck.
For more information on Ruck To Remember or to make a donation, visit https://www.crowdrise.com/rucktoremember60to60/fundraiser/robinjohnsondarnell. For more information on S.E.R.E. Performance, call 703-431-1477 or visit www.sereperformance.com.