HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Munitions Airmen assigned to the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings and the 649th Munitions Squadron joined Gold Star Mother Cathy Powers during a 5K run June 21 to honor her son Senior Airman Bryce Powers and other veterans.
Cathy set out Feb. 17 to run a total of 1,000 miles, with a portion in every state, to remember her son who died April 26, 2013, six months after a motor vehicle accident in Japan placed him in a coma.
Bryce was assigned to a munitions unit at the time of the accident. He is now buried in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery.
After her son’s death, Cathy struggled with grief and turned to food, overeating in an attempt to numb her pain. As a result, she gained weight, reaching nearly 300 lbs.
During one of her visits to Arlington she found a beautiful live balsam fir wreath on her son’s grave, along with thousands more covering each of the headstones at the cemetery.
It made an impact on her.
“One day I woke up and came to the realization that I am not being true to myself – I am still alive and he isn’t here. I realized I needed to live for Bryce and for me,” said Cathy. “When I run, I think of my son and all the things I need to be thankful for. I want everyone to know it is never too late to be the best you.”
Today, Cathy is 140 lbs. lighter, runs regularly and not only lives for herself, but for her son by raising funds to sponsor veterans’ wreaths to be placed at Arlington National Cemetery as part of Wreaths Across America.
The organization’s mission is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington and other veterans’ cemeteries.