Tripler Fisher House run focuses on faces of fallen

U.S. Navy photos by MCSN Johans Chavarro

U.S. Navy photos by MCSN Johans Chavarro

Emily McNulty

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Morale, Welfare and Recreation

Theresa Johnson, Tripler Fisher House manager, said she wanted to remember the more than 6,700 military members who have died in war from 2001 to present. So, she had an idea last year to create the Tripler Fisher House 8k Hero and Remembrance Run, Walk or Roll after the son of her friend died and her son was about to deploy.

“I wanted to honor my friend’s son, but if I was going to honor him, I needed to honor 1, 10, 100 – I needed to honor them all,” Johnson said.

This year, the 2nd Annual Tripler Fisher House 8k took place Sept. 7 at Ford Island, beginning with an introduction from Johnson and Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander U.S. Pacific Fleet. About 5,000 active-duty service members, families, retirees and civilians participated in this year’s event, which included a 21-gun salute by the Hickam Honor Guard.

While participants ran, boots with photos attached that represented each casualty lined the entire route.

“We want to bring back the faces of those who have died. This run is completely focused on the fallen. We don’t charge to enter this event because those who have died have already paid the ultimate price,” Johnson said.

“We live in Hawaii, and people love to run. It’s a way to get the community involved and to understand the sacrifices made by military families and friends. “The reality of this race, of each boot and picture, is that it was someone. We need to remember that each fallen was loved by someone,” Johnson said.

“This walk has been very emotional. I want to look at each picture on every boot and remember them for those who can’t. I’m so glad I got up this morning and came,” said

Tracey Newland, wife of a U.S. Marine.

According to Johnson, this event touches everyone who knows a friend, neighbor, relative or someone who knows someone who has died, has been deployed or who will deploy.

“This was a powerful event. It’s hard to see a Marine’s face on these boots and know that it could have been my husband. He could have died during his deployments. It really got to me when I started thinking about him. This could have been me,” said Manessaha Sumner, an Army Reservist who is married to a Marine.

“For me, it was the perfect opportunity to heal and bring awareness. It’s in your face. This is someone’s child, father, mother, sister, brother, spouse or friend,” Johnson said.

Johnson also wanted the event to provide awareness about the Tripler Fisher House.

Because it runs on community donations, it was a very important way to bring the Fisher House name to the public, but also to keep the memories alive of those who have died, she said. “We want families to know about Fisher House before they need us,” said Johnson.

The Tripler Fisher House is a “home away from home” that provides comfort for families of active duty and retired military receiving treatment at Tripler Army Medical Center on Oahu. They stay until they are discharged or medically cleared. The house supplies free room and board, full kitchen, laundry and other support.

The boots will be displayed until Sept. 15 at the Pacific Aviation Museum on

Ford Island. Individual pictures of each boot have been taken and are being posted to the Tripler Fisher House Facebook wall, as well as a Flickr page.

For more information on the Tripler Fisher House, visit /hi/triplerfisherhouses/ or friend Tripler Fisher House on Facebook.

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Category: News