Gold Star Mother running 1,000 miles to remember late son and honor other veterans

INDIANTOWN GAP NATIONAL CEMETERY, Pa. -- A woman is on a mission to honor and remember veterans in Pennsylvania and across the United States.

"My son passed away in 2013. For 4 years, I just thought that was it, and I didn't move," explained Powers.

After his death, Powers says she gained a lot of weight.

At most, she weighed nearly 300 pounds.

Today, she is 140 pounds lighter and uses her legs every single day.

"I always think he is right there. He is right there, running with me," she said.

She is on a mission to run 1,000 miles with some in every state.

"I'm not that old poison anymore. I'm a runner. I am a Gold Star Mother running for our veterans, and it feels good," she said.

"It all started with a simple symbol on her son's grave in Arlington," said Beth Sattizahn, Wreaths Across America Volunteer Coordinator for Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.

That symbol? A wreath.

"It brought me so much healing personally to know someone was saying his name, even if it is a stranger," explained Powers.

It moved her so much, she made her own goal: run and raise money for 7,777 more wreaths.

"Do you know in May I found out there is between 7,700- 7,8000 new people buried in Arlington every year? My number was 7,777 because that is how many days are son was alive, and I thought what a cool number, and then, to find out how many new people are being buried there every year, I got goose bumps," she said.

"Even though it is so sweltering hot, I have goose bumps, it is an amazing experience to have Cathy come, to have people come out to honor and remember veterans," added Sattizahn.

"I haven't had any injuries. I've been welcomed with love. I tell them, 'I'm here to run for you cause I love you', and then they start bawling," explained Powers. "I have a great reason to wake up every day, and I am so thankful for that."

So far, Cathy has run nearly 700 miles in 36 states.

For more on Cathy's journey, click here for her Facebook page.

For more information on Indiantown Gap National Cemetery and Wreaths Across America, click here for its Facebook page or here to go to Wreaths Across America's website.

Its ceremony will be held Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 12 p.m.

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