KJ Stilling is no extraordinary athlete.
But hes had some extraordinary experiences not limited to running grandma’s marathon this past June and skating in the Northshore Inline marathon in the quad skates division – where Stilling placed second.
But the reason behind the sports goes beyond the thrill.
Stilling is heavily involved in an organization called Semper Fi Fund which provides resources and support for post 9-11 combat wounded, critically ill and injured members of the US Armed Forces and their families.
“It’s an organization that has provided me with opportunity. They have given me airplane tickets to fly to different locations,” Stilling said.
Stilling served in the Marine Corps from 2003-2009. During that time he was deployed twice to Iraq.
“When I think about my time in service and my time in the Marine Corp, I don’t think that I’m special. I am not someone who suffered a lot of combat trauma. I experienced some combat trauma and I think we all did when we deployed to Iraq. You know I’m not special and I’m not a victim but I think there’s a lot of people like me who came home with all ten fingers and all ten toes. So on the outside we feel like we should come back to civilian life and have no problem readjusting. The truth is that sometimes it’s really difficult to readjust.”
Which is why stilling is running as a member of team Semper Fi in the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October.
“I want other veterans and veterans spouses and veteran children to have the opportunity to go and do and participate in the same things that I have had the opportunity to participate in.”
To donate to Stilling’s Marine Corps marathon fundraiser, click here.
To learn more about Semper Fi Fund, click here.