Local Veteran to Run Across the Country
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"When you get out and run a few miles a day the adrenaline gets going, you feel better about the day,” said Sean Edmunds.
“I just like the serenity of it. Being out there, I'm able to think clearly, and plan what I'm doing."
For Sean, that is quite a plan.
"My summer plan's to run across America, starting in Oregon and going all the way to Delaware."
To pull off something like that, a father of four needs an understand wife, for one.
"It's such a huge thing and when he first mentioned it, I thought, wow, can anybody ever do that?" asked Donna Edmunds.
But to understand why a man would want to run from ocean to ocean, in 80 days, you first have to hear his story.
In 2006, the native of Wales, who'd joined Uncle Sam's army, was deployed to Iraq as an Army medic.
"I was conducting a traffic control point with my unit, and as I crossed the road, a remote IED was detonated from a distance."
It went off two feet from him, shrapnel tearing through Sean's face and arms. The blast injured his brain and damaged his hearing.
"At the time, I didn't really grasp the seriousness of the injury. I was thinking more just, I want to go home and see my family,” said Sean.
"It was kind of one of those phone calls you hope you never get,” said Donna.
His service earned Sean medals, including a Purple Heart. His injuries took months to heal.
"We were relieved at his recovery and how quickly he recovered. It was one of those bumps in the road a lot of people go through,” Donna said.
Once he was well enough, Sean was back to one of the only things, besides family, that gave him peace from his post traumatic stress disorder following the explosion.
"Once I got out of the Army, running was really the one thing I liked to do. I could go out on my own. Time to think and focus on what the next steps were in my life."
And so it was born; a trek Sean calls Reason to Run 2012, raising money and awareness for two veterans charities that he says helped him greatly in his recovery: Oasis Adaptive Sports, and Vacations for Veterans.
"I just want to give something back. I don't have a vacation home to rent out, I don't have a lot of money to give to the organization, so I thought what can I do that would be something to give back. I thought why not use something I love."
"I'm really excited. I think Sean is ready to go any if anyone can do it he can do it,” Donna said.
Sean still suffers from headaches and tinnitus. Hearing aids help him hear. He just received his bachelor’s degree in religion, and is working on his masters in professional counseling.
For now, he's not looking past June 2nd, the day he begins his run, which is really just another step on his journey.
"It's gonna be hard, but I'm looking forward to the challenge. I've been training hard and I'm excited to get going.”