JBLM soldiers run to raise money for memorial

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD -- Soldiers of the 2nd Stryker Brigade ditched their combat boots Wednesday morning and hit the ground running for a good cause.

About 4,000 soldiers participated in a holiday run to raise money for a brigade memorial that will honor their fallen comrades who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"When we're running and we're singing our cadence we're building that unit pride that is part of a special organization, so we think we have something special here," said Col. Lou Zeisman of the 2nd Stryker Brigade.

The soldiers have raised about $12,000 toward the $40,000 needed to build the memorial.

"Memorials are special things because that allows our young soldiers that continue to serve to never forget," Zeisman said.

They say the memorial is really about the families who've lost loved ones, to give them a place to remember.

"It means a lot," said Connie Dotson, an Army wife. "I can't imagine the loss and sacrifice that the families made, so it means a lot."

Soldiers, wives and volunteers are now putting together a cookbook to help them reach their goal. The brigade hopes to break ground on the memorial in six months.