PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Palm Beach County has a track record of honoring veterans and the families of those killed in action.
For the past three years the Believe with Me, “Freedom 4 Miler,” has taken pride in lifting up those the fallen have left behind, like veteran Rosanna Powers.
Service to one’s country runs in veteran Rosanna Powers' family. She enlisted in the Marines at a young age.
“It was something that everybody did because we didn’t really have much so that was one thing that give you opportunities.” Powers said.
Her little brother Lance Corporal Caleb Powers enlisted soon after in 2004.
“You two were pretty close yeah we were 13 months apart,” said Rosanna, “and I joined the Marines before him but he wanted to join his whole life.”
Things were good, Rosanna was stateside taking care of her 10 month old baby, while her fiancée SGT Richard Lord was also overseas serving in the Marines. They tried to keep in touch as much as possible.
“I haven’t met your brother but I think I know where he is. I’m going to be meeting him soon and so then that was the last email I got from him,” recalled Powers.
The two never would get the chance to meet. On August 17, 2004, Powers’ brother Lance Corporal Caleb Powers was killed in a sniper attack and compounding on that tragedy her fiancée SGT Richard Lord was killed the next day by a roadside bomb.
“It’s a lot of denial,” said Rosanna recalling when she got the news, “and you’re kind of going - well maybe they made a mistake and they’ll call us back and this won’t be real. My son was only 10 months old at the time so I was taking care of him but my family was really taking care of me. They were telling me when to eat.”
Nearly two decades have passed since then and Powers still misses her Marines but has found a home in the network of Gold Star Families.
“Even when I moved here some of the first people I met were people who were helping Gold Star communities and there’s really nothing like it. You have a family with those people. It’s not family you wanted to have but family you’re so grateful to know,” she said.
Organizations like “Believe with Me,” have also stepped in to help honor the servicemen and women killed in action with events like the Freedom 4 Miler - a special race with each mile dedicated to getting know the fallen.
“We want people to really enjoy their Fourth of July but really remember who gave them this opportunity,” said Believe with Me founder, Lyette Reback.
It’s an acknowledgment Powers said helps, “You’ll feel good, remember what that freedom costs, remember these four guys each mile learning all these different things about them. I hope people can know my brother liked Red Vines.”
Small details like that are a big help along the long road of healing.
“If we don’t do stuff to let other people know about our loved ones then our biggest dream is that they don’t get forgotten,” said Powers.
For more info on the Freedom 4 Miler, head to https://believewithme.com/