Wayland resident running Marine Corps Marathon for grandfather

GateHouse News Service | Wickedlocal.com | October 27, 2011

WAYLAND — Runner Colin “CJ” Norgaard of Wayland remembers as a boy rummaging through his grandfather’s things. He remembers seeing medals, patches, an American flag and old photos of his grandfather in uniform. He also remembers stories of the “Old Glory Days” and statements of “For God and Country.”

These memories had a huge impact on Norgaard and led to a promise he made to his grandfather of never forgetting those who serve our country.

Norgaard’s grandfather was Marine Private Wesley G. Norgaard, who served in the Fourth Marine Division, 24th Regiment, 3rd Battalion, Company I in the central Pacific at the Battle of Iwo Jima. He was wounded in action on March 3, 1945, when a bomb shell fell next to him, killing his best friend, and put him a coma with shrapnel wounds to his right leg. He survived his injuries and was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps on June 15, 1945.

CJ, who grew up in a small wheat field town known as Clay Center in the heart of Kansas, has decided one way he can keep his promise to his grandfather and honor all our veterans is to run the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon in support of the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.

“I have the greatest respect for the wounded veterans of our country and am raising funds and running the Marine Corps Marathon to help them,” said Norgaard. “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.”

On Sunday, Norgaard will be running the marathon in Arlington, Va., in Marine pants, boots, a Semper Fi Fund shirt and carrying a picture of his grandfather.

He is one of over 800 athletes and 50 Team Semper Fi injured veteran athletes that will be on the course representing the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.

To support Norgaard and the Semper Fi Team please go to the campaign page (www.active.com/donate/semperfifundmcm2011/fundCNorgaa).

The Semper Fi Fund was founded by Karen Guenther, a registered nurse and spouse of an active duty Marine who had firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced by wounded Marines and sailors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The fund has awarded over 34,000 financial grants totaling more than $54 million in grants given to injured and ill service members and their families.

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