It's not unusual to see posts on your Facebook feed that thank veterans for their admirable service to America. But, what is unusual is reading a post thanking a veteran for running a marathon. Nikki Labaschin used her Facebook account to thank the man who helped her cross a marathon finish line when she didn't think she'd be able to.
On her 19th mile of the marathon, Labaschin gave herself a break from running. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to finish the race, so she took a minute to stretch and pray for help; something she doesn’t do often. Her prayers were miraculously answered when a stranger ran past her and complimented the back of her shirt that said "Got Freedom?"
The stranger's name was Pete, and he was a veteran who had served in the United States Army for 32 years. He continued running, but after about six feet, he turned around and asked if he could walk with Nikki for a while. On their way to finishing the marathon they discussed her Salute, Inc. shirt. Salute Inc. is an organization that works to raise awareness of the sacrifices military service members, veterans and their families make and provides “a safety net to ensure every military family is treated with honor and dignity.”
“I’m not sure if you know this, but I was trained to never leave anyone behind, so I’m sorry to say that you’re stuck with me for six more miles,” Pete said to her.
Labaschin wrote in her Facebook post, “This man, someone who I did not know, stayed by my side for the remainder of the marathon.”
She expressed her gratitude for those last six miles that she spent with the veteran. Pete told her stories about his time in the army, grabbed her a Gatorade whenever it was available and always got water for her before helping himself. He kept her spirits high by making her high five people along the sidelines. He even jumped in front of a cameraman with her to take goofy pictures.
As much as Pete had helped Nikki, she felt guilty for slowing him down and making him stay with her. She begged him to go on without her, to which he replied, "Why should you feel guilty? I made a friend for life."
Labaschin ended her Facebook post by saying, “How crazy that the person who helped me was a vet? Not surprising, but remarkable nonetheless. You truly made this whole process worth it. The biggest thank you to Pete, all those who supported and donated to Salute Inc. and our veterans and their families.”
So Pete, if you are out there, just know your kindness did not go unnoticed.
"I want to tell him how he has profoundly affected me and how his story has moved so many other people too. "
Let's help Nikki find Pete, and spread this amazing story of kindness from a Veteran. Please share this article with friends, family, anyone you think would appreciate this Veteran's story. #FindPete