By 2nd Lt. Caleb Murphy
4th Operations Squadron
In mid June while most of Schriever AFB was eating dinner, a team of 25 4th Space Operations Squadron members joined the opening ceremonies of the 17th Annual Central Colorado Springs Relay for Life. The Relay for Life is a benefit walk that raises awareness and financial support for the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer. Teams raise money by obtaining sponsors of participants who maintain a constant presence walking or running during the twelve hours of the relay.
Opening ceremonies began at 7 p.m. at the Grace Center for Athletics. Events kicked off with the Little Marine drill team performing the flag ceremony while a retired Air Force sergeant sang the National Anthem. Immediately following the opening ceremonies, a group of cancer survivors completed a “survivor lap” in honor of all those who have won respite from their battle against cancer. After the survivor lap, each relay team was announced as they stepped on the track. Later in the evening, those who lost their lives to cancer were remembered during the Luminaria ceremony as family and friends of those who died lit hundreds of shrouded lights, illuminating the inside lane of the track.
From 7 p.m. on Friday through 7 a.m. Saturday, the 55 Relay for Life teams ensured that at least one member of their team was always on the track. Throughout the night, local musicians and performers entertained those on and off the field while local restaurants contributed food and drink to the event. Other forms of amusement included a dunk tank, an inflatable gym, and a fashion show where every relay team had a representative model an outfit comprised of donated clothing.
Schriever’s representation at the walk was organized by Capt. Meagan Tovado, 4 SOPS’ alpha crew commander, who had a personal experience with cancer. Meagan’s mother, who was the honorary member of 4 SOPS’ team, is a survivor of breast cancer. She participated in both the survivor lap and throughout the evening.
“My family has been involved in the Relay for Life ever since my mother fought her battle with cancer,”said Captain Tovado. “I wanted to open this great opportunity to support the fight against cancer to my squadron.”
The event made a big impact on the other members of the team.
“I felt greatly humbled by the fact that my small action will make a huge difference in the lives of others,” said 2nd Lt Ronald Davies, Relay for Life team member. “I encourage all Air Force members to contribute their time and effort to this and other great causes. It was a fun and rewarding experience.”
After the event, Captain Tovado learned that her 4 SOPS team raised nearly $900 for the American Cancer Society. “Thanks to everyone who contributed financially, even if they could not attend in person… every little bit helps.”