Young Wounded Veteran Inspires All at the Trinity Triumph 5K
Trinity Services, Inc. held its 3rd Annual Trinity Triumph 5K Run/Walk on October 6 at the beautiful Village Commons of New Lenox. Created as a fundraising event to support Trinity Services, the Run/Walk also celebrates the achievements of all participants. This year, the Trinity Triumph had an extraordinary runner participate - Josh (JB) Kerns.The air horn signaling the runners to start the race had sounded five minutes earlier, yet four young men appeared at the start line asking to run in the race. Although they could not receive a bib number and a timing chip, one of them, speaking for the group, said “We just wanted to run and contribute to your fundraiser”. As they walked with race director Sherry Ladislas to get a race shirt at the registration table, she asked the men how they learned about the Trinity Triumph. New Lenox resident Dave Selby said that his friend, JB, from Virginia, had found it on-line. JB was coming to visit for a couple of weeks. Dave stated, “He told me and to get ready because he was bringing his running legs to run in this race in my home town.”The two men met as Marines in North Carolina at Camp Lejeune. Both did two tours in Afghanistan, but the third tour sent Dave to a Global Response Force and JB back to Afghanistan. It was there that JB was severely injured by an IED blast in April of 2011. At the young age of 21, this brave soldier had sustained terrible injuries that resulted in the loss of both legs and half of his right arm. He was in the hospital for 50 weeks, but just six months later, here he was on a bright sunny day with his running legs on, ready to run 5K.The men got their event shirts, posed for a picture, made their way to the starting line, and took off running. They had started about ten minutes after everyone else and still managed to pass a couple of runners.After their run the men went to the Wall of Triumph to write what they were celebrating. At the top of the wall Dave wrote, “AMERICA”. Next, JB picked up the chalk and with his non-dominant left hand wrote, “Being alive”.Ladislas asked JB where he got his strength from. His reply was, “I’m young. I still have a long life to live.” The Trinity Triumph was his third 5K since he was wounded. He ran in the Tunnels to Towers race in New York honoring Stephen Siller, a fallen firefighter who had raced on foot from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. JB was one of 25,000 runners in that race. He also participated in another race of the same name in Virginia. JB’s friend Dave noted that the Stephen Siller Foundation is building a house for JB, about a mile or so from his childhood home. The work is set to begin around Veteran’s Day.Recalling how Dave and JB met, Dave fiercely states, “JB is my best friend. We’re like brothers, you know?” Asked to talk about JB’s injuries and positive attitude, Dave recalls, “If I hadn’t seen him in shorts the first time I saw him after his injuries, I would have never known that anything had happened. You couldn’t tell. His attitude is still the same. He keeps up with me when we ride four-wheelers. Sometimes he even out-does me, “he chuckles. “He’s the same guy.”“JB truly is an inspiration,” Ladislas stated. “He embodies what the Trinity Triumph 5K is all about. We’re so honored that JB participated in the Trinity Triumph to celebrate his achievements with us. What he is doing is an incredible feat, but we celebrate everyone’s achievement – no matter what that is. It could be earning a college degree, celebrating a twentieth wedding anniversary, or losing a dress size. This event is meant for participants to be a place where they can be an inspiration, draw strength from others, and enjoy the camaraderie – all in support of Trinity Services’ mission to help people with disabilities live full and abundant lives.”To learn more about Trinity Services, visit www.trinity-services.org. To see more photos and race times from the Trinity Triumph 5K, go to http://www.facebook.com/TrinityTriumph5K.
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