Why I Run for the Fund

For many, the running of the Marine Corps Marathon is a rewarding personal experience that is the culmination of training and setting goals. But for Michelle Kinsella of `Team Just Because’, it is more than that. For Michelle it is a chance to honor her father and all service members like him. This October will be Michelle’s 8th year running the Marine Corps Marathon as a community athlete for Semper Fi Fund Team.

“I run for my Dad,” Michelle said. “When he came home from Vietnam, he was broken, and there wasn’t anyone to help him cope with the invisible wounds of PTSD. No service member should ever feel that way.”


After a friend ran the Marine Corps Marathon, Michelle thought to herself, “If she can run a marathon, then so can I! But I realized I needed my own motivation; I needed to run with a purpose.” It was then that she started looking on the list of charitable organizations and came across the Semper Fi Fund. She knew immediately that it was the one. “The Semper Fi Fund was calling to me. The Fund helps people. It makes a difference!”

Semper Fi. For Michelle those are the words she saw and heard growing up. “It was on almost everything my dad owned — from his t-shirts to his bumper sticker.” It was around that time that Michelle’s dad, Bob Poulin, took a trip back to Vietnam, and with the help of a counselor, had started to deal with and heal from his own invisible wounds from combat. Wounds he tried to ignore for over 40 years.

“Slowly, I started to see a change in his demeanor; as if something heavy was lifted off of him,” she recalled.

Since 2010 Michelle has been doing her part to make it better for service members and their families. ‘Team Just Because’ has raised over $171,000 for the Semper Fi Fund.

According to Michelle, “People want to be part of something special and meaningful.” For her the best part is seeing the connection her dad has with other Marines, both those from his unit in Vietnam and those he meets while cheering her on during one of her races. “The connection is a beautiful thing to see,” Michelle said, “and I am just a small part of that. The service members on Team Semper Fi inspire me.” Michelle says she finds herself talking about the Fund all the time. She can work it into any conversation, because she is so passionate about it. “Even my students have learned from my experience. They’ll tell me about seeing people run the Boston Marathon wearing a prosthetic leg. I tell them my fundraising helps service members who have lost a limb while on active duty.”

“My dad is proud of me, and I am so proud of him for working to lift the darkness. The Semper Fi Fund is helping today’s service members do just that. The Fund helps people; it makes a difference.” That’s why Michelle runs for the Semper Fi Fund. “At the end of the day, it is the right thing to do. I know it’s the right organization for me, because it makes my heart happy.”