Angel Blog

May No Veteran Run Alone

Soldiers’ Angels was honored with the opportunity to offer Charity Bibs in the 2023 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. We of course, jumped at the chance to be a part of such a meaningful race. For those who are not familiar with the Charity Bib concept, many of the larger races limit the number of entries to ensure the race course isn’t overcrowded. In fact, some have a lottery system, selecting only a specific number of applicants each year. The only way around the lottery system is to apply for a Charity Bib and commit to raising a set amount (usually $500 or above) for one of the selected charities.

We were so honored to have been chosen as one of this year’s nonprofits, but especially excited because this opportunity was significant for two members of our team: Tania and Amy Palmer. Tania was a Veteran Intern here at Soldiers’ Angels and is a recovering alcoholic. Running is a big part of her recovery journey. Scroll down to keep reading or support the Soldiers’ Angels Team by joining or donating now!

As a military and veteran’s charity, we are sadly very familiar with the world of substance abuse. Unfortunately, way too many veterans find themselves using drugs and alcohol to cope with the memories, nightmares, anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc., they experience as a result of their sacrifice to protect our country and our freedoms. Tania is one of many.  

“As part of the Soldiers’ Angels Veteran Internship program, we selected this young, energetic, and smart Air Force veteran who came in and worked hard. We did not know at the time, but she was a recovering alcoholic. She had just been released from the VA hospital detoxing the day before she started with us! We knew she was not feeling well the first few days, but we had no idea why. Over the course of a few months, Tania became just another member of our big, happy family. She eventually shared with us that she was an addict in recovery, but nothing we had not dealt with before,” says Amy Palmer, Soldiers’ Angels CEO.

“During her recovery, Tania had been training for the Houston Marathon. She called me from rehab and was pretty heartbroken that her body was not in a position to run that marathon just days after her release. I wanted to encourage her, so I told her she should do the Marine Corps Marathon. It’s an unforgettable experience. This seemed to perk her up, and part of me was secretly hoping she would forget that conversation. So here I am, after committing to run a marathon with Tania in October, which will be 11 months into her sobriety!  She is already four months in and doing amazing, and all of us at Soldiers’ Angels are so proud of her and how far she has come,” says Amy.

Tania is also excited to be running this race while raising money for Soldiers’ Angels.  

“As a sober person in recovery, exercise has become a cornerstone of my life. It has been a way for me to set positive goals, challenge myself, and to grow a budding passion for running. My connection to the military community runs deep (see what I did there). I am an Air Force veteran who served on active duty from 2007-2014, and in the Air National Guard from 2014-2016. During that time, I completed a combat tour in Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn from 2010-2011.

That’s why I have decided to run 26.2 miles in the Marine Corps Marathon to raise money for Soldiers’ Angels. This amazing non-profit organization is dedicated to supporting military veterans, deployed servicemembers, and their families. Having worked for Soldiers’ Angels in the past, I can attest to the incredible work they do on a daily basis and the level of involvement and care that goes into operations. This incredible organization goes above and beyond to ensure that our military and veteran community receive the support they need and deserve,” says Tania.

Tania and Amy are not the only ones running! Other Soldiers’ Angels team members have committed to doing it as well.

Meet the Soldiers’ Angels Race Team

Alan Sale

Alan Sale is our Director of Development and is in the lead for most donors right now (must be all of that Development experience)! Alan has been having fun challenging Amy to feats of strength leading up to the race and doing other silly challenges to boost his fundraising. He even ran around his entire neighborhood in a pink tutu once he hit one of his first fundraising milestones!

“I am THRILLED to be doing the 2023 Marine Corps Marathon! My history with the military has been life long and I am so very fortunate in a wide variety of ways due to the U.S. Armed Forces. I was born in a Naval Hospital in San Diego, was fortunate to live all over the world during my father’s Naval career, and finally married an Air Force veteran. To be honest, unlike many people, a marathon was never on my radar as a life goal. I dislike running and would rather swim or cycle. I was never a good runner, probably due to body size but in 2022 I took a major step and made the decision to turn things around.”

Rich Scott

Rich is our Director of Programs and is currently in the lead for fundraising on our team. He’s raised OVER his $500 goal already.

“I’m running to support a friend who is in recovery, and it was one of her goals. Soldiers’ Angels is running as a team to support her and to raise awareness about our organization.”

This is not his first marathon, but it has been 10 years since he ran. 

“Race day is the culmination of countless hours spent training, nursing injuries and sore spots, pushing through pain, dehydration, figuring out nutrition, dealing with inclement weather or the hot south Texas sun, and so many more challenges. Race day is the day we all say we’re ready. And on race day, we’ll all achieve our goal with thousands of others who similarly sacrificed.”

Vicki Sarracino

Vicki is our Senior Director of Field Operations and is running the 10K.

“Typically, I am not a runner. I walk, do weight training, as well as other types of cardio. I decided to participate in the Marine Corps Marathon 10K because I am sure that the many men and women in the military are outside of their comfort zone. I am sure many times they stress their bodies. It is because of that, I decided to run in the 10K. It is also a great way to bring awareness to Soldiers’ Angels to raise money. I am close to my goal and hope that I am able to surpass it.”

Sandy Carter

Sandy Carter is a VA Hospital Volunteer in San Antonio who loves supporting veterans and going to extra mile to ensure they feel the love. Sandy was selected as the VA Volunteer of Year in 2020 for her commitment to volunteerism within the VA Hospital.

“I like talking to the veterans and brightening up their days just by taking them things or taking the time to visit with them and listen to them.”

Candace Acabbo

Candace is Team Angel on the Baking and Special Operations Forces Team. She is running the 10K for a special reason: to support a military mom.

“Truth be told I was not going to run in this race as I have one the following weekend in Nashville, Tennessee, and the travel cost for both races was a lot. My boss’s youngest son enlisted in the Marines over Christmas break and was set to head to Parris Island in August. Last week he informed his parents that he has volunteered to report for an earlier boot camp and will now leave at the end of May, right after high school graduation. This has really hit his mom, my boss, as this is her baby and now she doesn’t get the summer with him. I decided that training for this run to support her own Marine and raise some money would be a great distraction for her this summer, so I asked her to do it with me. We are looking forward to the race.”

“Through this experience, we have learned a lot about fellow co-workers and their own addiction stories, the stories of family members who are in sobriety, and stories of others who have sadly lost their lives to this disease. I think we are closer as a team and a work family. While I don’t wish this disease on anyone, I am grateful we had the opportunity to be on this journey of recovery with Tania. I’m honored to be running this race, and asking you for money to support my journey!” says Amy.

We’re so excited to be running (or watching) the Marine Corps Marathon this year! For the military-connected community, this marathon is special for many reasons. Race day starts with a flyover, there’s a silent mile to honor the fallen, among the cheering crowds you have the backdrop of Washington, D.C., and when you cross that finish line, a Marine places that well-deserved medal around your neck. Check out out team page to support a member of our team.

If you are a Veteran in crisis or know a veteran in crisis, help is just a phone call away.