WASHINGTON, D.C. – At 72, retired U.S. Navy Lieutenant John Odell runs three days a week, five to six miles at a stretch. “My doctor told me that running was better than any pill he could prescribe, so I figured running’s doing good for me,” the veteran naval cryptologic maintenance officer quipped.
On Oct. 8, Mr. Odell, of Penrose, N.C., will run through the streets of the nation’s capital in the U.S. Army’s 33rd annual Army Ten-Miler. He will be on a charity team running to raise money for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS).
Team AMS comprises 50 registered runners. Together, they hope to raise a total of $60,000 in donations. The money will go to support the service of Catholic military chaplains and pastoral care for the nation’s men and women in uniform and their families as well as veterans hospitalized in the nation’s VA Medical Centers.
Each Team AMS runner, including Mr. Odell, has pledged to bring in at least $500 from friends and supporters for a total of no less than $25,000 toward the goal. That leaves $35,000 left to raise. The AMS hopes to plug the balance by attracting other individual and corporate gifts in support of the team.
But time is running out for corporate sponsors to pledge support. Corporate sponsorship commitments must be received by the Archdiocese no later than Friday, June 30, $13,679 has been raised thus far. That includes a generous $1,000 gift from the Military Council of Catholic Women (MCCW).
Prospective corporate sponsors are urged to contact the Advancement Office right away at email@example.com or (202) 719-3622.
As a 22-year veteran naval officer who served everywhere from Alaska to Iceland and Puerto Rico, Mr. Odell knows first-hand the worthiness of Team AMS’s cause. He says chaplains serve an indispensable role in the military.
“As a supervising manager,” he said, “a lot of times your young sailors come to you with problems or issues and you turn your collar around and try to counsel them and be effective, but I wasn’t always as effective as I would like to have been or needed to be. And having a chaplain available, they can often bring other resources to bear that, as a manager, I didn’t always have available to me.” Especially important, Mr. Odell said, are the sacraments that only a Catholic chaplain can bring.
So the weekend of Oct. 8 will find Mr. Odell and his wife, Portia, visiting the nation’s capital, and Mr. Odell running in support of the AMS. While in Washington, they’ll also visit their two sons, Marine Major David Odell and Navy Lieutenant Commander Christopher Odell, making the occasion of the charity run a family affair.
Mr. Odell said he has already raised his $500, with much of that coming from friends in the Knights of Columbus (K of C); but he’s determined to exceed that amount come race day, and so he continues to look for donors willing to give.
For individuals wishing to support a runner or make a general donation, go to https://milarch.rallybound.org/Donate. Individual donations will be taken until one week after the Oct. 8 race.