Running for the American hero

By Jon Tatting

Bonnie Carlson is doing her part to help wounded military heroes and their loved ones in their time of need.

Carlson, of Rush City, is training for the Cadet Moms Inaugural 5k Run on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. She plans to run with her 21-year-old son Houston, a cadet at West Point and graduate of Rush City High School.

Bonnie Carlson ready for a run in Rush City. Photo by Jon Tatting

Also expected are around 80 other West Point moms to help raise funds for Fisher House — a private organization that provides housing for families of service men and women during recovery and treatment at military hospitals nationwide.

This while honoring wounded service men and women who have served the United States as West Point graduates.

“I am committed to raising much-needed funds to support this worthy cause,” she said. “It (her participation) may not be a big thing, but I just want to give back to the men and women who risk their lives so we can enjoy the freedoms that we have.”

The Rush City community may spot Carlson jogging around the neighborhood with a yellow West Point T-shirt and earbuds for listening to some motivating tunes. “I ran 4 miles today, with no walking,” she said about her training progress. “Katie Perry helped me, Beyonce helped me and even a Justin Bieber song.”

Also giving her motivation is the reason why West Point moms organized the fundraiser.

Nick Vogt, a 2010 West Point graduate, deferred acceptance to medical school to serve as an Army infantry officer. Just 18 months after graduating, he was deployed to Afghanistan where he was injured by an improvised explosive device and lost both legs.

During Vogt’s initial months of recovery, his parents found respite with Fisher House, which provided his mom and dad a temporary place to call home so they could stay at his bedside.

Hearing about this, moms of West Point cadets wanted to show their appreciation of Fisher House. So they organized the 5k walk/run to raise funds to offset the expenses incurred in housing not just Vogt’s parents, but the families of as many service members as possible.

Houston Carlson, 21, a graduate of Rush City High School, is a West Point cadet and will participate in the 5K run with mother Bonnie in August. Photo supplied

“It’s such a purposeful thing,” said Carlson. “I will probably cry at the end (of the run). I hope Houston will hold my hand at the finish line.”

Carlson is looking for people to sponsor her journey with the 5k event by making a tax-deductible donation at Or, she can be reached at 651-775-0108 or [email protected]

“Your gift will make a big difference for those who depend on the support of Fisher House. Any amount, large or small, is greatly appreciated,” she said.

Her goal is to raise $10,000 before the Aug. 24 deadline.

The Fisher House program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America’s military in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House Foundation donates “comfort homes,” built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times — during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease or injury.

Annually, the Fisher House program serves more than 17,000 families, and it has made available over four million days of lodging to family members since the program originated in 1990.

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