NewsInspiring South Florida


Veteran honors fallen soldiers by running '5k a day'

Mark Nunez gets new pair of shoes donated to him
Posted at 10:05 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 12:07:01-04

GREENACRES, Fla. — When we hear the stories of fallen servicemen and women, most recently in Afghanistan, many feel the need to do something to honor those heroes.

Mark Nunez, who lives in Broward County, was working his job as a technician for AT&T in Palm Beach and Broward counties when it hit him one day.

Nunez honors fallen servicemen and women by running what he calls a "5k a day."

"I get out there at least 5 times a week," said Nunez. "So I just felt like it was important for me as being a veteran, you know."

Since January, Nunez has been running on his lunch breaks or before work as an AT&T field technician.

He saves his runs on his watch, then posts pictures and stories of the fallen soldiers with their background stories on social media.

fallen soldier.PNG

Nunez served years of active duty and reserve in the U.S. Navy.

He said he's in this new mission for the long run.

When asked if running this consistently is challenging, Nunez said, "These people ain't coming back. I can push through heat, exhaustion, just in their memory. If I don't do that, what good is this?"

The recent terror attacks at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan make Nunez's dedicated running even more important to him.

"Unfortunately, 13 more soldiers had to lose their lives because of what's going on in the world," said Nunez.

flag-draped caskets of soldiers killed in Afghanistan inside transport plane, Aug. 29, 2021
In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, flag-draped transfer cases line the inside of a transport plane Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, prior to a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The fallen service members were killed while supporting non-combat operations in Kabul, Afghanistan.

A military assistance organization let the owner of Peter's Shoes in Greenacres know about Nunez's journey.

Peter Arena donated running shoes
Peter Arena, who owns a shoe repair shop in Greenacres, donated a pair of running shoes to Mark Nunez.

Owner Peter Arena wanted to give him a special gift that will help along the way.

Arena gifted Nunez two new pairs of running shoes.

Mark Nunez's new running shoes
Mark Nunez will now be running with a new pair of shoes.

Arena said he'll continue to donate the new shoes as long as Inez continues to run on this mission.

"These guys give so much and they do it with honor and their whole entire soul they do this for us," Arena said. "And we need to show a lot more respect and we need to do more things like this."

Nunez is now setting up a way to donate to his cause.

All the proceeds will benefit Forgotten Soldiers Outreach in Lake Worth.

The organization sends care packages to active-duty military members.

Donate to Nunez’s 5k a day for a fallen soldier at the Forgotten Soldiers Outreach Facebook page.