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Run Across America Makes Impromptu Visit to Meet with Veterans of the Marion VA Health Care System

When we first spoke with Noah Coughlan, he had us on speaker phone, as he was running down the highway.

"I’m doing this run for the Veterans. I want to meet as many as I can, placing them front and center at each location that I stop at,” shares endurance runner, Noah.

Noah had just left Benton, Illinois and was heading south towards Marion, where Noah had already made plans to meet with the Mayor of the City of Marion, Illinois that same afternoon.

A couple of cars honk as they pass him by. It’s hard to miss a man running down the road pushing a child stroller stuffed with personal belongings, strapped with a large waving American flag standing tall and mighty.

“I didn’t know there was a VA in Marion but I’m glad to have connected with you. Your Veterans are the reason behind this trek.”

Executive Director, Zach Sage heard about this opportunity and decided to meet with the man that is representing Veterans nationwide.

Meeting Noah In Person

Plans were made to meet with Noah and local Veterans from various organizations were invited.

Veterans, Mayor Absher from the City of Marion, alongside Marion VA Executive Director, Zack Sage, met with Noah on the downtown square to thank one another for their contributions in either serving their country, or serving the community. This exchange was held at the base of the iconic clock tower on the town square in downtown Marion, Illinois.

The endurance runner made it a point to shake the hand of every Veteran that was present to ask what branch of service they served, and what years. Then, Noah shared his message about his tribute to the American soldier.

He is a Non-Veteran endurance athlete who is doing a cross country run/walk from Washington State to Florida in tribute to our Veterans. This is his fourth such adventure and once he lands in Miami, he will be only 1 of 5 people to cross the county on foot 4 separate times.

We asked Noah when he would be departing for Vienna Illinois, and he responded that not until the following morning. And it turns out that he was staying the night at a hotel just down the street from the Marion VA main campus. Noah accepted our invite to visit with our Veterans on the following morning.

On the morning of September 20th, Noah was received and welcomed by 19 Veterans wanting to meet the man that is walking in honor of Veterans.

“You guys are the reason I’m doing this walk,” shared Noah.

“This flag that I have with me was given to me by an Air Force Base. I feel like we have the liberties that we have because of the Veterans that have served.”

Noah shook hands with all the Veterans present and thanked them for their service before getting back on the road for another day of running/walking roughly 27 miles. Our Veterans were thankful and motivated by his speech and his impromptu visit.

“If this movement has motivated you at all or has given you a little inspiration coming from a civilian, then I have met my goal. Thank you all for your service.” - Noah Coughlan

From here, Noah headed south towards Vienna, Illinois, and will then head towards his last stop in Illinois, in the town of Metropolis, Illinois.

Join us in thanking Noah for doing what he does to raise awareness to the service of our Veterans to their country!

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