Fayetteville/Fort Bragg/ Sandhills NC

VOL6 ISS1 2016

Issue link: http://emagazine.relocationguide.biz/i/644019

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Page 31 of 101

THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — FAYETTEVILLE | FORT BRAGG | SANDHILLS REGION VOLUmE 6 — ISSUE 1 28 by lynne brandOn fayetteVille/Cumberland COunty FAYETTEVILLE/CUMBERLAND Army Special Forces veteran Ivan Castro is a wounded warrior making a diference. He has served in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, deployments to Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo, multiple deployments to South and Central America, Operation Enduring Free- dom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. While serving in Iraq, Ivan sustained life threatening injuries and was blinded in both eyes. To honor and sup- port fallen and wounded comrades, fre fghters, and frst responders, Castro founded Special Operators Challenge. The organization hosts fun and challenging events for the entire family that include events from a mile-long kids' obstacle course (the Little Muddy) to the Esprit de Corps Challenge, a teambuilding event. The Dirty Darby and Little Muddy obstacle races are held in June near Sanford and the Espirit de Corps challenge at Camp Tus- carora near Four Oaks in August. The Boomerang Beer and Brat Fun Run on January 30 in Fayetteville is a favorite event. Runners have to eat a foot-long brat (minus the bun) and drink two beers during the run which raises money to help veterans and those in need throughout the community. "Special Operators Challenge events are the ultimate of fun and a challenge rolled in to one," said Castro. Castro has run more than 50 marathons includ- ing New York and Boston (and two ultra-marathons), climbed mountains, cycled across the continental United States and in 2015, trekked to the South Pole alongside Great Britain's Prince Harry. In 2012, Castro challenged himself further by cycling across America. "Though I don't have sight; I do have vision," said Castro. "I have vision and a will to fght …to fght for my life, to fght to succeed. Every day I choose to fght rather than quit." Castro is one of many dedicated soldiers and civilians who make up the fabric of Fayetteville and Cumberland County. These forever warriors return home to make a lasting contribution to their communities in a variety of ways and to honor those who have served in conficts. The Army's Army came out of compassion and a de- sire to provide a sanctuary for those who had dedicated their life to military service. The mission is to essentially "watch over those who watch over us," said Janine West, executive director, The Army's Army. Programs include those for POWs, veterans and families of fallen soldiers. Special events are held throughout the year with the Heroes Homecoming being one of the largest. The frst homecoming honored Vietnam veterans and a later event honored Korean War veterans on the 50th anniversary of the confict, also the 30th anniversary of the TV show, M.A.S.H. Cast members from the show, Loretta Swit and Jamie Farr showed up for the event. A mentoring program, "Children of the Fallen" for chil- dren and young adults who have lost a parent in a military confict, is a signature program of the Army's Army. The program pairs children with an adult who are committed to being active in the child or young adults' life. Fayetteville is the home of Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base along with towns, and unincorporated com- munities that make up Cumberland County. Fayetteville is the county seat and the nation's frst Military Sanctu- ary Community. The city has been declared "America's Most Pro-Military Town" by TIME magazine. Many structures have been painstakingly preserved to refect this history in nine designated historic districts. Fort Bragg is the world's largest Army installation and includes the U.S. Army Airborne Forces, Special Forces, U. S. Army Forces Command and U. S. Army Reserve Command. The military installation is also home to the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights. The team earned gold medals at the 2015 U.S. Parachute As- sociation National Skydiving Championships and set a new world record for scoring the most points on a single jump. The team (and the female 4-way team that won the world indoor skydiving championship in the Czech Republic) has earned spots on the U.S. team that will compete at the 2016 World Championships. The post, home to roughly 53,700 troops, will lose ap- proximately 842 troops through service-wide cuts by the end of 2018. Troops remain deployed, >> patriotic, botanical, international

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