By Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
As the fog rolled in to the field surrounding the Schriever Air Force Base Fitness Center, so did the Airmen. Friends, family and co-workers came together July 30, to run a 5K and show their support for Lt. Col. Zack Owen, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron commander, in his fight against cancer.
“It would be impossible to work with Lt. Col. Owen for any amount of time and not detect the passion he has for endurance events like squadron runs, trail runs, the Manitou Incline or mountain hikes,” said Capt. Kenneth Grosselin, 3 SES chief of weapons and tactics. “Because of this passion, a 5K felt like one of the most powerful and accessible ways Team 5-0 could show our solidarity with Lt. Col. Owen and his family.”
Owen was diagnosed with melanoma last fall and on July 22 found out the cancer had metastasized and spread to his liver and pancreas. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, Melanoma “is the most dangerous form of skin cancer,” but the Airmen assigned to the 3 SES and Schriever Air Force Base are convinced Owen can beat it.
Approximately 282 Airmen took part in the Fight Back 5K at Schriever Air Force Base, however two additional 5Ks were held at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico and on the East Coast in the National Capital Region.
“[The run] was unbelievable,” said Ginet Owen, Owen’s wife. “We were blown away by the support Schriever continues to give us. It was very humbling.”
The turnout for the Fight Back 5K surpassed everyone’s expectations.
“We expected a large contingent from 3 SES and the 4th Space Operations Squadron, but there were members from across the larger Schriever/Peterson community,” said Grosselin.
After the run, Airmen were given the opportunity to record a special video greeting to lift the spirits of Owen while receiving treatment in the hospital.
“He loved [the video],” said Ginet. “It was the first time we’ve really seen him laugh in weeks. It meant a lot to all of us.”
Owen’s family said the medication and treatments are starting to work and his health is starting to improve.
“For today, we’re just happy he’s doing better,” said Ginet. “We would love to say thank you to everyone who ran, who filmed and edited the video and everyone who has expressed their concern and love for us.”
Those wishing to send their regards to the Owen family can do so through Lt. Col. Chris Todd, 3rd Space Operations Squadron commander.