Community's steps boost Marine morale

SYCAMORE – Residents have a healthy chance to support a local soldier.

Meaghan Gulke is sponsoring a Marine Marathon for her husband, Cpl. Brett Gulke, a 2009 graduate of Sycamore High School who was recently deployed to Afghanistan. The marathon, which won’t cost participants anything, will be held from Nov. 1 to Nov. 22 at the Kishwaukee Family YMCA.

Meaghan Gulke explained that Marine spouses are conducting a contest to see which unit can first record 15,000 walking miles – the distance between their base in California and Afghanistan and back. The winners will get a prize which has yet to be determined.

More than the prize, she said, is what it will mean to the soldiers.

“We’re trying to get as many people involved as possible to help get these boys a little extra morale,” she said. “We want them to know there are people out there who support them in everything they do, and we want them to come home. ...People don’t realize how much that means to them.”

It will benefit the Marines’ wives, as well.

“When the boys deploy, the wives with children have a really hard time,” she said. “The days go slower and they don’t know what to do with themselves. So we’re keeping busy by supporting our husbands.”

On Oct. 30, Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy pledged the total 11,315 miles logged by the 1,825 runners in the Pumpkin Festival 10k to the project. Via email, Meaghan Gulke said the goal of 15,000  miles has already been reached, and she is now hoping to get to 30,000.

According to Heather Eade, marketing and communications director at the YMCA, members can sign up outside the wellness center to record how many steps they take. No one will be asked to donate financially.

Meaghan Guilke said the event will run from Nov. 1 until Nov. 22, culminating in a “big event” on Nov. 22, which is her husband’s birthday. On that day, Eade said anyone in the community will be allowed to participate at the sports center track, even if they are not members of the Y.

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