Odyssey Impact: An Army Vet Refuses To Leave Another Marathoner Behind

Odyssey Impact: An Army Vet Refuses To Leave Another Marathoner Behind

A man helps a complete stranger finish the last six miles of a grueling race.
17
views

Everyone has heard success stories in which people find lost loved ones and old friends through social media, but to help facilitate a reunion is a privilege not many people are able to experience.

Indiana University student Zoe Spilker was scrolling through her newsfeed when she discovered a post by a marathon runner attempting to locate the U.S. Army veteran who helped her finish the race. The runner, Nikki Labaschin, had six miles left in the marathon before she had to stop and catch her breath.

The veteran, whose name was Pete, stopped when he saw her and walked her the rest of the way to the finish line, selflessly grabbing her water and Gatorade along the way. After the race was over, Labaschin took to social media to look for the kind stranger.


Spilker didn’t know the marathon runner or the veteran personally, and yet she felt connected to the cause. “I was really touched by the story and how this girl got helped across the finish line. I wanted him to be recognized,” Spilker said.

Spilker, a journalism major, chose Odyssey as her outlet to share Labaschin’s story and to help her find Pete. Her post, in which she started the hashtag #FindPete, relayed the heartfelt moments Pete Labaschin shared in their last few miles:

After posting her article, she encouraged her loved ones to pass on the story.

“I had a lot of support from my friends and family just wanting to share it and get the message out,” Spilker said. “I called a couple of my family members and friends and they knew I had the opportunity to make a difference here, so they were all very willing.”

Within 24 hours, her article got more than 500 shares and friends of friends and complete strangers were commenting on her Facebook share with praise, and even some tips on how to find Pete.

“One person commented and said, ‘You might be able to find him this way,’ and said to look up his runner number on the marathon page. I don’t think they even personally knew him, they possibly were involved in the marathon,” Spilker said.

Her Facebook share of the post circulated beyond her own network and in turn, Labaschin’s story was further pushed beyond Indiana and around the United States. Spilker didn’t just share on Facebook, though—she knew it would take more than one platform to make an impact. So, she shared on her Twitter as well.

“There was one point when someone found the girl on Twitter who knew the guy, so I got a few messages on Twitter because of my share,” Spilker said. “I think that was really influential in finding him.”

One person who personally knew Pete found Spilker’s Twitter post was also able to get in touch with Labaschin, and finally, the runners were able to connect.

Spilker’s job was done, and knowing that her article helped the runner connect with her new friend was an incredible experience.

“It definitely made me realize the power of social media in connecting people,” Spilker said. “I think a lot of times when people tweet out things or share different things on Facebook, they don’t realize how many people can see that. It really does have the power to do good.”

This one experience illuminated Spilker’s journey with Odyssey, and showed her that Odyssey’s mission is literally changing lives.

“Sometimes it’s hard to find a platform where we can get our ideas out,” Spilker said. “What’s really special about Odyssey is that our ideas can reach more people than we expect, and social has a great influence in that.”

Popular Right Now

It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
849787
views

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Hannah B. Named The Next Bachelorette: Get Excited!!

Roll Tide.

63
views

On the season finale of the hit reality TV show 'The Bachelor' Chris Harrison announced the new Bachelorette to be Hannah Brown, affectionately referred to as "Hannah Beast." Hannah made it far in Colton's season of the Bachelor, but hit some bumps along the way. She was involved in serious drama with costar and fellow pageant competitor Caelynn. Not only is Hannah B. known for drama and tears, she is also known for her awkward and often uncomfortable behavior around the cameras. And let's not forget the most awkward first date and toast of all time...Roll Tide!

Despite her awkward and quirky personality, I think the Alabama native is truly a sweetheart. She cannot be judged based on the controversy that took place between her and Caelynn because no one knows the full truth of the story. In my opinion, no one was completely innocent in their "cat fight" but the way in which each girl handled themselves in the resolution of this drama was mature and, quite frankly, impressive. I think Hannah B's season will be full of more tears and could potentially be very uncomfortable to watch at some moments, but at the end of the say, Hannah B. deserves to find love just like any other 'Bachelor' hopeful. It will definitely be an interesting season to watch, so get excited!!

Related Content

Facebook Comments