When a little boy was separated from other runners in his group during the Jeff Drenth Memorial 5K, he asked a Marine, who was also running the race, for help.
“Sir? Will you please run with me?” 9-year-old Boden Fuchs asked Lance Cpl. Myles Kerr.
According to a post on the Seal of Honor Facebook page, Kerr not only ran along with Boden, he also encouraged the boy to finish the run when Boden wanted to give up.
Kerr accompanied Boden to the finish line where the boy was reunited with his group.
Kerr decided to run the race in training gear to give himself an additional challenge. As three of the foursome crossed the finish line on Bridge Street that morning, Kerr was not with them. They were concerned because they thought he may have overextended himself during the last half of the race.
“I was worried, because he was probably in the best shape of any recruit I ever sent off,” vanBeekom said. “We couldn’t figure out what happened to him.”
The young men were just about to retrace their course to find Kerr when they saw him running down Bridge Street with Boden.
“It was about halfway through the race, right around Michigan Beach when I came upon the boy,” Kerr said.
He had been separated from his running mates and was walking slowly. He asked me if I would run with him the rest of the way. I think we clocked 38 minutes by the time we crossed the line. I usually can run the 3 miles in 17 or 18 minutes. He reminded me of myself at that age, but I couldn’t have done what he did then.”
Boden’s mom Holly Fuchs, who heads a St. Mary School running program during the year, and her daughter, Maxi Fuchs, thought Boden had run ahead and were trying to catch up with him, not realizing he had fallen behind.
“I was touched when I saw Myles crossing the finish line with his gear but I didn’t realize that Boden was running with him until he told me,” she said.
Here is how vanBeekom recounted the events of that race on Facebook (with minor edits for newspaper style).
“For the 5K at the Venetian Festival in Charlevoix, Lance Cpl. Kerr opted to run the event wearing boots and utes (utility uniform) and carrying a ruck sack. Several minutes after I finished, Lance Cpl. Kerr still had not crossed the line. I feared his extreme level of motivation may have caused him injury and/or fatigue resulting in him dropping out of the race. Moments before I ran back through the course to recover my fellow Marine, Lance Cpl. Kerr came around the last turn along with this small boy. The boy had become separated from those who he had started the race with. He asked Lance Cpl. Kerr, ‘Sir? Will you please run with me?’ Throughout the course, Lance Cpl. Kerr urged him on when the boy wanted to give up and ensured that the boy saw the course to completion where he was reunited with his party. By his unwavering commitment to help those in need through his ability to inspire others by his unequivocal level of motivation, Lance Cpl. Kerr reflected great credit upon himself and was keeping in the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps.”