In July 2010, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove of Renton was killed in the line of duty as a result of injuries sustained in a firefight in Logar Province, Afghanistan. He was 25 years old.
In the wake of this tragedy, Jarod’s wife and children found solace and companionship in Wear Blue: Run to Remember.
For the past six years, Kimberly Newlove and her two children — Addison, 15, and Jordon, 12 — have participated in Wear Blue’s Gold Star program for people who have lost a military member of their family in the line of duty. functions.
Wear Blue’s Gold Star Youth program connects children of the fallen with a mentor who is on active duty. Mentors and mentees train for several weeks for races and memorial runs to honor and remember loved ones who have passed away. The program culminates with the great Memorial Day race.
This year, the Newlove family had the opportunity, thanks to Wear Blue, to visit the White House on Memorial Day. They arrived for a special Memorial Day breakfast where they were soon joined by President Joe Biden.
President Biden walked into the room where the Newloves and other guests were waiting to meet him with apologies on their lips. He and his staff were running late and he had come to personally thank them for their patience.
When the time came for the Newloves to meet the president, they were taken to a separate room where President Biden and a photographer met them.
“It was surreal,” Kimberly Newlove said. “I never thought this could happen.”
“We walked in there and I shook his hand, and we only talked for a few seconds,” Addison Newlove, 15, said. “He said I shouldn’t have a real relationship until I’m 30,” she laughed, which is apparently what he tells all of his own grandchildren.
After breakfast, the Newloves visited Arlington National Cemetery for a Memorial Day ceremony attended by President Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
“I probably never would have met him under normal circumstances, and the fact that we met him because we’re a Gold Star family is special,” Newlove said.
Kimberly Newlove’s mother, Mary Humphries, was on the phone with her daughter during the event, heard the announcement over the speakers and was able to listen to the president enter the room.
“It just sends shivers down your spine,” said Humphries, who predicted the experience was “something they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Wear Blue: Run to Remember has chapters scattered across the United States in Washington, California, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, and several other states. There are also chapters outside US territories in Germany and Japan.
“The cornerstone of achieving Wear Blue’s mission is the Saturday Run, a free weekly run or walk organized by Wear Blue volunteers,” according to the Wear Blue website. “Our weekly runs in our neighborhoods shine a light on our mission, our commitment to each other and our dedication to honoring the dead. We become the living memorial. It is a place of connection, support and healthy living for athletes of all levels.
Training takes place every Saturday at various locations in the area.
For more information on Wear Blue: Run to Remember, visit wearblueruntoremember.org.