Local Airman goes the extra mile

  • Published
  • By Heidi Hunt
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Going above and beyond the call of duty is more than just a military catch phrase; it is a way of life for some Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen. Many take it upon themselves to go the extra mile, but one Airman is going miles.

Staff Sgt. Brandon Rodriguez, 509th Force Support Squadron readiness technician, took it upon himself to make a difference in the lives of those with leukemia and lymphoma, by joining Team in Training, a running organization in Kansas City, Mo., to run for a cure.

He is scheduled to participate in a marathon June 5 in San Diego, Calif., and is raising funds. He will be paired with a patient and run on their behalf to raise funds for their medical expenses and cancer medical research.

His drive for helping those with leukemia and lymphoma stems from his own personal battle with leukemia.

When he was 2-years-old, Sergeant Rodriguez was diagnosed with leukemia.
By the age of 6-years-old, he was in remission.

"Since then, I've always been adamant in trying to help others and get involved because I want to give back," he said. "I also wanted the opportunity to give them a sense of hope.

"I got involved with other cancer organizations 26 years ago, but this year I wanted to branch out and do something different," Sergeant Rodriguez said.

"I can identify with the patients and hope I can shed a little light on them because I have been in their position," he said. "I can sympathize and empathize."

Every week, Sergeant Rodriguez trains and runs three to five miles two to three times a week. He does his long runs early Saturday mornings, which are between five to 22 miles.

The motivation and inspiration behind his runs stem from the patients and his passion about the cause.

"I encourage others to get out of their comfort zones and to get involved in the community and do something that is not about just about them," said Sergeant Rodriguez. "It's not about me anymore, it's about somebody else."

Capt. John Frazier, 509th Bomb Wing executive officer and former 509th FSS chief, readiness and plans, said Sergeant Rodriguez' drive is an exceptional example of the human ability to not only rise above adversity, but stand-out as a shining star for others to emulate.

"By his willingness to give back his time and energy to raising leukemia and lymphoma awareness, he truly lives out the Air Force core value of 'excellence in all we do' day in and out," Captain Frazier said.

"I look forward to the marathon and hope to bring others a sense of hope for the future," Sergeant Rodriguez said.

For more information about Sergeant Rodriguez and the cause, log on to http://pages.teamintraining.org/mid/rnr11/brodrig58r.