Gold Star family member honors brother through running


OOLTEWAH, Tenn. (WATE)– Dawn Crough has been part of a Gold Star family since 1994.

To honor her brother, Private Philip Harvey, she runs.

“Through the running for me, I feel like that’s a positive way to remember his name, rather than being sad and mopey,” Crough said.

About six years ago, Crough joined a nonprofit called wear blue: run to remember.

Wear blue is running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military.

“The wear blue: run to remember has given me a very nice way to memorialize my brother and honor his name 27 years after he passed away,” Crough said.

With wear blue, Crough can wear a blue shirt that has her brother’s name on the back.

His name might be read aloud during the Circle of Remembrance before a race starts, and his name will be visible for any runner to see during the blue mile, along with other fallen soldiers.

The blue mile is usually at several races across the country, including the Marine Corps Marathon, Rock’n’Roll Seattle, and some other approved races.

“It’ll have their pictures, it’ll have their names, it’ll have their ages at the time of their death, and you run by and you see all these faces, these young faces of people that have lost their lives,” Crough said.

However, due to the pandemic, wear blue hasn’t been able to have a presence with the Mile at those and some other races.

Crough lost her brother in a training incident back in 1994 at Fort Bragg.

He was a paratrooper, and she said he wasn’t supposed to be training when he died.

“There was an accident on the base, and two planes collided and he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and he was one of 24 that died in that accident,” Crough said.

She’s talking about what is known as the Green Ramp disaster, which is said to be the largest loss of life for the Division in peacetime since the end of World War II.

“Training is dangerous too. Every bit of the job is dangerous. You know, my brother jumped out of airplanes,” Crough said.

Crough said her brother’s name is on a memorial at Fort Bragg, but on Memorial Day this year, she would be honoring her brother during the Chattanooga Chase.

It isn’t a wear blue approved race, but wear blue participants, such as Crough, can wear their shirts and represent the fallen at any race or community event, especially on Memorial Day.

Wear blue produced a national memorial event. Partnering with local non-profits, runners and walkers committed to putting in the miles in honor of fallen soldiers.

Running is just one way Crough and her family honor her brother and the thousands of other soldiers who died serving our country.

About 60 communities across the nation do so on Saturdays, including in Nashville and Hendersonville.

In honor of Memorial Day, Crough wanted to make sure the names of other fallen soldiers were heard.

“Captain Todd Bracey, Sgt. AJ Gonzalez, Private First Class Charles Hester, First Lt. Ashley White, Airmen First Class Alfred Comlev, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Theodore Church, Sgt. Richard Clutch, Sgt. John Hueling, Cpt. Timothy Ryan and Private Philip Harvey. Philip Harvey was my brother,” Crough said.

Wear blue does not sponsor races, but the organization will be taking the Blue Mile to the Rock’n’Roll San Antonio in December, where they will be hosting 22 Gold Star family members.

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