"Papa was some kind of a Superhero that disguised himself and went out to save the world when we grandchildren were not around."
Colin Norgaard discovered this as a boy while rummaging through his grandfather's things. "I remember opening up that old steamer chest" he says, "to see medals, patches, an American Flag, and old photos of my "young" grandfather in his military uniform. It was truly a sight for my young eyes to discover that Papa was more than just a grumpy old man who told me what needed to be done for the ways of the world."
PVT Wesley G. Norgaard served in the 4th Marine Division, 24th Regiment, 3rd Battalion, Company I in the central Pacific at the Battle of Iwo Jima. He put his life on the line to help his platoon survive one of the greatest victories this country ever accomplished.
What follows is an excerpt from a letter Colin wrote, sharing with us why his grandfather is his inspiration for running the Marine Corps Marathon: "For God and Country" I'd hear him say as he told me tear struck stories about the "Old Glory Days." My grandfather told me these stories with passion in his eyes and a limp to his walk; reliving a piece of history. I felt the compassion in his eyes as he said "promise you will try and remember all the things I've said, because we must'nt forget that your future depended on what we did that day. I was there to see my buddies fall and I held their hand until the last breath so that our country, our fellow man, could live in freedom." My grandfather was wounded in action on March 3rd, 1945 when a bomb shell fell next to him, killing his best friend. That blast left his right leg full of shrapnel and put him into a coma for over four months. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps on June 15th, 1945. Honors included the Purple Heart, rifle sharp shooter, and anti-tank gun crewman. My grandfather passed away February 24th, 2010.
My name is Colin Norgaard and I grew up in a small wheat field town known as Clay Center in the heart of Kansas. I have the greatest respect for the wounded veterans of our country and am raising funds and running the Marine Corp Marathon to help them. I also run to honor the memory of my grandfather and all who have fallen, in honor of those who are currently serving, and for the future of all who will stand to fight for the freedom of this great nation.
My grandfather tried to get to the Iwo Jima reunion last year, but his battle with cancer would not allow him to travel. One of his last requests before he passed away was to try and get into contact with someone from his battalion if any were left alive. I'm hoping to reach out at the Marine Corps Marathon in hopes of fulfilling my grandfather's request.
"They all raised the flag and barred the fight. Called to the task for what was right! Full of Promise, Pride, and Semper Fi."
~dedicated to Wesley G. Norgaard.
Colin Norgaard joins over 800 runners this year in raising money and awareness for the Semper Fi Fund
! He'll be running the Marine Corps Marathon along with 50 wounded/ill service members, 25 of their family members, and 28 (a record number) hand cycles!
Not an athlete? You can still participate! Here's how:
2. Find out more
about the Marine Corps Marathon
and join us in cheering
our dedicated and inspirational athletes to the finish line!
Know someone who was part of the 4th Marine Division, 24th Regiment, 3rd Battalion, Company I?
Please let us know
so we can help Colin fulfill one of his Grandfather's last wishes!
4. Donate Now
to provide hope, encouragement, and assistance to our injured and critically ill heroes!