Running in memory of:
“I run in memory of Sergeant First Class James D. Connell Jr., who was killed in Al Taqa, Iraq in 2007.”
1985 – 2007
As the youngest of six children, Julie Childress says she was in “dire need” of some discipline. The United States Army gave her that and more. “One of the most important lessons I learned is that hard work and sacrifice do pay off,” Julie says. “Don’t complain, just do it.”
Serving as a mechanic in the Army for 21 years, Julie was also a paratrooper. She did two combat tours in Iraq, and did a tour in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina as the war there was ending.
Julie was responsible for the health, welfare and training of over 200 soldiers. At the time of her retirement from the Army, she was serving with a Forward Support Company in an Apache Helicopter in the 101st Airborne Division.
Julie had the opportunity to return to Iraq for three years as a civilian contractor after retirement. She also had particularly rewarding return trip to Bosnia as a tourist. Julie had remained in contact with two families she met during her tour there, and was able to see firsthand that the area had recovered from war.
“I was amazed at the resiliency of the Bosnian people,” Julie says. “What was a bombed out, war-worn city when I was there during my tour is a thriving, beautiful city now.”
Julie is training for the half marathon and hopes to finish in less than three hours. She says her greatest challenge is plain and simple – getting the speed she needs to finish as fast as she can.
“I can actually walk a lot faster than I run,” Julie says.