SLÁINTE — It is an Irish Gaelic word meaning “health.” It is used as a toast in Ireland and Scotland — and it was used as such on Long Island this weekend at the I Did the Grid Road Race (The Grid), during a toast to CPL Christopher G. Scherer, USMC.
If you have been following my blog for a while you know of my affiliation with The CPL Christopher G. Scherer Semper Fi Fund (Team Chris), founded in remembrance of CPL Scherer, who lost his life in 2007 while fighting the war on terror.
The Grid is run every Memorial Day weekend in Chris’ old neighborhood in East Northport, NY — the same neighborhood he lovingly terrorized as a youth (ask his dad, Tim Scherer. He’ll tell you some great stories).
While the race bears Chris’ name and honors his sacrifice, it also embraces the spirit of Memorial Day by honoring the sacrifice of every US soldier killed in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — each race bib carries the names of four fallen servicemen or women. And, in a very real and moving way, they pay tribute to local Gold Star Families who’s loved ones had fallen in past wars. I’ve written about it before, so please take a moment and read about the race in detail.
Approaching the finish line, runners and walkers pass banners honoring local heroes from bast wars going back to Vietnam, each containing a photograph and a short bio.
One of them reads:
Army PFC William D Quinn, III
Northport, New York
1 December 1949 – 4 May 1969
PFC William Quinn graduated Northport High School in 1967. Growing up in East Northport, PFC Quinn was an active young man who enjoyed ice hockey and playing guitar. Feeling the need to support his country and his friends who were already serving, William enlisted in the Army. PFC Quinn deployed to Vietnam as an 11B Infantryman with the 2nd battallion, 5th Cavelry regiment/DCompany. On May 4, 1969, William Quinn lost his life to enemy fire in the Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam.
William was 19.
This was the third year in a row my youngest daughter and I did the grid. I cannot think of a better way to start off Memorial Day weekend. In all the years I have been a runner I can say without question this is the best event I have been fortunate enough to participate. May god bless the Scherer family. Go TEAM CHRIS!!!!!??????????