North Carolina – Makenzie Kemp is a seven year old who had a mission during the Marine Raider Foundation 5K run over Memorial Day weekend. That mission was to honor her father who died in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in 2015. But to do it, she wanted the race to be 7 miles instead of just 5 – because she wanted the run to honor all 7 Marines who died in the crash and raise money for other Gold Star Families. Her father, Staff Sergeant Kerry Michael Kemp was one of those lost in the crash. (Marine Corps Times)
The team split up their runs into two parts: 4 one day and 3 the next. But what matters is the intent behind it, and the tenacity to finish. She was only a year old when her father was killed.
Her Mom, Jenna Kemp posted this on Facebook (reads in part):
SHE DID IT!! 7 Miles DOWNTo say that we are proud of Makenzie is an understatement. To see this beautiful, intelligent, thoughtful girl run 7 miles in honor of her Angel daddy and his brothers has truly filled my heart in so many ways. Her passion for school, soccer, helping others and her pure genuine is more than I could have ever hoped for. Her strength and determination is what inspires and motivates me to be better and do better for all of my babies. When we lost Kerry 6 years ago, it felt like our world came crashing down. So many thoughts ran through my mind…one of them…how was I going to raise these babies in a way that they still feel like they know their dad. Seeing her run these miles and talk about him makes me feel like I am at least on the right pathThis Memorial Day as you enjoy the day off with friends and family, please take a few moments to say their names and remember the brave men and women we have lost as they so rightfully deserve. Their selfless sacrifice should always be acknowledged as they gave their tomorrow’s for our today’s….Seven miles are complete and we will continue our Memorial Day doing all things Kerry…eating candy, playing golf, laughing and “living the dream” We miss you, we love you, we will never forget you…
According to the MCT, Makenzie raised $3,570 for the Marine Raider Foundation…surpassing their original goal. For Makenzie’s part, she said she “got really tired,” but she kept going and didn’t give up. Good job!
The Black Hawk helicopter was participating in a “routine training mission” off the coast of Florida in March of 2015. Four Louisiana National Guard members were also killed in the crash, along with the 7 Marines. Unfortunately, the helicopter was operating in dense fog.
The Marines who died in that 2015 crash were named as: Capt. Stanford Henry Shaw III of Basking Ridge, New Jersey; Master Sgt. Thomas Saunders of Camp Lejeune; Staff Sgt. Liam Flynn of Queens, New York; Staff Sgt. Trevor P. Blaylock of Lake Orion, Michigan; Staff Sgt. Kerry Michael Kemp of Port Washington, Wisconsin; Staff Sgt. Andrew Seif of Holland, Michigan; and Staff Sgt. Marcus Bawol from Warren, Michigan. All of them were from the 2nd Special Operations Battalion of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC Marines) – Marine Corps Times.
The Marine Raider Foundation provides resources for supporting Raiders in transition and programs to help them succeed.
Featured photo: Facebook – Makenzie’s face intentionally blurred. She is only 7, after all.
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