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Josef Lopez, Member Team Marine Parents™

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Official TIME--Chip Time: 10:30:24 Pace: 24:02

Goal: $5,000, Purple Heart Hero Support™

Amount raised thus far: $353
10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

Josef Lopez
LCpl. Josef Lopez, a United States Marine, is from Springfield, Missouri. This is Joe's first-ever marathon.

In October of 2006, while in Iraq with 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, LCpl. Lopez became very ill which caused total paralysis. He is making great progress and can now walk short distances without his cane. He says when he has a bad day he opens a few more cards of support from Operation PAL™ and it brings his spirits up!

In 2007, Josef attended the 2007 Annual National Conference in a wheel chair. Joe met Neil Schalk, a Purple Heart Marine who ran the Marathon in 2006 and will run again in 2007. As Josef was being introduced, he stood at his wheelchair and announced that he would be competing in the Marine Corps Marathon in 2007. Neil stood behind Josef and announced that he would do whatever it took to make sure that Josef crossed the finish line.

Georgette Frank, Gold Star mom and founder of The Heart of a Marine Foundation (HOMF), was also attending the conference. She gave Josef a special cane that HOMF gives to injured Marines. Josef was able to walk a short distance with the cane. But the blessings didn't stop there. Georgette announced that HOMF would purchase a special wheelchair for Josef to use for the Marathon. Several months later, after being measured and fitted for the customized and uniquely-built hand cycle, Josef is now training with the hand cycle for the Marathon.

Josef and Neil are featured inside the front cover of our Purple Heart Hero Support™ brochure. We look forward to continuing to tell this amazing story of healing, God's blessings, of Marines helping one another, and opportunities for the tight-knit Marine Corps family to help one another. Semper Family!

A thank-you from Josef for support from the Operation PAL™ program:

Thank you for all the support and letters. Whenever I started to have a bad day I would open up a few I hadn't read yet. I am able to walk short distances without a cane, my endurance and balance are the problems now... but things continue to improve at a very fast rate. Thank you to anyone who helped with this, it has brought my spirits up and continues to help me heal.

Good luck Josef! We'll be cheering you and Neil on to success this October 28!


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