Running for Family

By Christian Pomarico

In July 2012, I entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, eager to take on the 47-month journey to become an officer in the U.S. Army. As a recruited hockey player for the Army Black Knights, I also believed that I already knew what it meant to be part of a team, to battle for each other in pursuit of a championship.

I still had a lot to learn.

At the end of every pre-season, the hockey team dedicates a workout to Army 1st Lt. Derek Hines. I did not have the privilege to know or play alongside Derek. He was killed in action while on a patrol as an infantry officer in Afghanistan, in 2005. But from everything our coach told us, he was the epitome of an Army Hockey player and a teammate anyone would dream of having.

The Hines’ Workout pushes every player to their physical breaking point. Players learn that Army Hockey is a family, something that runs deeper than blood. In our family we fight, sweat and bleed for each other, knowing that no matter what, you can count on the person to the left and right of you. It is because of that fact that we take the time to remember the fallen, like Derek.

Since graduating from West Point, I have seen the bond mirrored by the military itself, which to many is no secret. While I still dedicate a day each year in remembrance of Derek, there are those among the military family that may need support even after returning home.

It is easy to see the effects of the post-9/11 wars in the fallen heroes, but it is important to remember that many come home with physical and hidden wounds as well.

Because of this, I have decided to run the TCS New York City Marathon in honor of Derek, and in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. The foundation helps find, fund and shape innovative programs that connect communities with the brave heroes returning to them.

As I prepare for my day of remembrance for Derek Hines, I ask that you remember those who have done so much for all of us, by considering a contribution to my run. You can donate to my fundraising page here.

About the author: U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Christian Pomarico is currently serving as an EOD Officer out of Fort Campbell, Ky. A 2016 graduate of the United States Military Academy, Pomarico was a captain of the Army Hockey team in his senior season. He enjoys golfing and writing in his free time. Pomarico aspires to one day write professionally, while also interested in pursuing an MBA during his time in the military.

2nd Lt. Christian Pomarico, flanked by Patrick Murphy, former acting secretary of the Army, and Gen. Mark Milley, 39th chief of staff of the U.S. Army, following Pomarico’s commissioning ceremony.
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