Recently, I had the privilege of sitting in a room full of talented, passionate people. Each person brings a different background and a different set of talents to the gathering, but all have a desire to make this year’s Spencer C Duncan Make It Count 5K a success. I thought about Spencer. I thought about how each person in that room was connected to the others through my son, my rosy-cheeked, fun-loving, bound and determined son who had accomplished so much in such a short life.
Spencer was twenty-one years old when he died. Twenty-one. Many would say his life had really just begun. We think that sometimes, too. Every time we receive a wedding invitation for someone in his age group, we are reminded of the daughter-in-law we won’t get to call ours. Every time I hold a baby, I know I will never hold his child. Every time we talk about future plans—from vacations to house plans to where we should go for dinner—we are painfully aware our family will always be incomplete. Those are all very real reminders to us that Spencer was way too young to leave us.
If you knew Spencer, however, you know he packed a lot of living into his twenty-one years. He drove more than any human I know. He read hundreds of books. He knew thousands of songs, every single word, and could max out the memory of an iPod before I could read the iPod owner’s manual. He had lived in his own apartment, paid his own bills, and took care of his own dog. He championed those who couldn’t fight for themselves. He truly cherished freedom. And he was an exceptionally loyal friend.
That friend thing was evident as we sat in the 5K planning meeting, sharing our love for Spencer and our belief that he would have wanted to make a difference in the lives of veterans. We watched smiles and tears appear as we told of giving away more than $21,000 (over $6,000 to Heart of America Stand Down which helps fight homelessness among our veterans, and over $15,000 to Johnson County Community College for book scholarships for student veterans). The excitement Dale and I felt when we left that meeting, the sheer gratitude we felt that we know such quality people, and the pride we felt that we were chosen to be this amazing kid’s parents were more than enough motivation to jump into the preparations for this year’s 5K.
So, here we are, ramping up for the 2nd Annual Spencer C Duncan Make It Count 5K. Check out the 5K tab at the top of this page to learn details of this year’s run. Saturday morning, August 3, we will be there, ready to experience the excitement, the love, the loyalty, and the honest to goodness pride in America that have all become hallmarks associated with this event. Continue to check back here as we update plans (including a course map and a special dedication in the works). We will also update information about packet pick-up, parking instructions, etc. We will even throw some pictures up here, too.
We are grateful for the opportunity to Make It Count for our veterans and for the people who have joined us. This year, we are hoping for an even greater turnout and for even more people to catch the fire to MAKE IT COUNT. Please join us.
~Megan Moore Duncan