SPANISH FORT, Ala. (WKRG) — Cathy Powers is running 1,000 miles across the country raising money for Wreaths Across America. She runs in memory of her son, Senior Airman Bryce Powers. He died in 2013. He was serving in Japan when he was in a serious accident.
Cathy struggled with her grief and turned to food for comfort. She continued to gain weight, weighing nearly 300 pounds. While she was at his grave at Arlington National Cemetery one December, she overheard a volunteer with Wreaths Across America and realized what the organization is all about.
“They’re not laid out like Christmas decorations. They actually say the veteran’s name. That just caused something in my heart to start healing, that he wouldn’t be forgotten,” said Cathy Powers.
That’s when she decided to become healthier. She started running in April of 2018 and to date has lost 140 pounds.
“I just decided that he lost his life and I was wasting my life and so I just turned things around,” said Powers.
At the beginning of 2019 she started the journey she calls “Running Fir Wreaths.” She set a goal to run 1,000 miles and to run in all 50 states, meeting veterans and active duty service members along the way.
Cathy first came to Baldwin County earlier this year. She was running laps at the Holiday Inn at Spanish Fort when she met Brad Israel who works at 68 Ventures. He asked about her son and her cause. That began their friendship.
Israel and his co-workers have been following her journey. Cathy returned to run with company members and to present the veterans who work at 68 ventures with a wreath. In return 68 Ventures is sponsoring 100 wreaths for Arlington.
“We get so busy and you forget that there are people overseas right now that are defending our countries and are making enormous sacrifices,” said Brad Israel.
Cathy is working to raise enough money to sponsor 7,777 wreaths, one for each day her son was alive. Wreaths are $15 and you can sponsor one here.
As for her running goal, Cathy finished Friday. She ran the last of her 1,000 miles in Northwest Florida at Eglin Air Force Base.