Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Brett Foley and David Chrisinger, both Rhinelander natives who write about Brett’s time in the Marine Corps.

Here’s what they had to say:

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
Brett said that he is proud that he has finished his degree and been accepted to the police academy. He thinks his greatest accomplishment will be landing a job as a law enforcement officer.

As for me, aside from landing a great job right out of graduate school and starting a family, I am proud of the fact that I played football in college (defensive lineman) and then used running and other endurance sports to lose more than 40 pounds. Since I finished college, I have finished 6 marathons, 1 50K, 1 half Ironman, and a number of shorter events in running, swimming, and triathlon.

How did you achieve it?
Brett said that after he was discharged from the military, he had a hard time readjusting to civilian life. What finally allowed him to move forward was realizing that he needed to set a goal and then work backward from that goal. So, for example, his main goal was to be a police officer. But to be a police officer, you need to have graduated from the police academy. And to get admitted to the police academy, it helps to have a degree in criminal justice as well as some security experience — in addition to military training. Once he had a path laid out for him, it became much easier for him to accomplish his goal.

I’m a bit more bookish in my approach. I knew that I would miss the competition after I was finished playing football. I also wanted to lose the weight I had gained. So I devoured every book I could find on running, triathlon, losing weight, etc. I also married a dietitian, which has made all the difference!

What motivates you to make the world a better place?
Brett said that there is simply too much violence and hatred in the world. He’s seen both up close. He wants to be a police officer so that he can protect people and help prevent them having to go through what he has gone through.

I have found that when most veterans come home, they get a pat on the back and a sincere thank you, but that’s pretty much it. After the “honeymoon” phase wares off, many veterans feel misunderstood by a largely unsympathetic and oblivious country that is unwilling to share the moral responsibility for war. This troubles me. And it made me want to help Brett put his life back together–to shoulder part of his burden. And once he was able to put his life back together, I realized that he and I could help other veterans do the same. 

What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
Brett and I both try to squeeze runs in multiple times per week, with a long run or two on the weekends. His police training keeps him pretty busy these days, but once that’s over, we’re going to focus on putting in some monster miles in preparation for our 50-mile race in October. In addition, I like to use swimming as a means of recovery. I also go on nightly bike rides or walks with my wife and 2-year-old son.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Brett said the best piece of advice he ever received was to keep working hard and good things will happen. As for me, it wasn’t given to me directly, but I have taped a quote on my refrigerator from Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run: “You’re tougher than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can.

What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
Like I wrote on our website: Not everyone can, or even wants to, run a 50-mile ultra marathon. But for those who are active and want to support veterans, Charity Miles lets you do both.

Who do you exercise for, and why?
When I got out of college, I ran for myself. I ran to lose weight, and to get healthier. I found it hard, however, after a big race to maintain the desire to run. I would run a marathon, for example, and then sit on the couch for two months, gaining back much of the weight I had lost. Then my wife and I had a son. I would sign up for a race, but life would get in the way. Still, the embers continued to burn. Then Brett and I decided to do this race to help support The Mission Continues, a worthy nonprofit service organization that helps veterans find renewed strength and purpose through service in their communities. Suddenly, Brett and I weren’t running for ourselves anymore. We were running for others–for those who weren’t doing as well as Brett was. That change in motivation and purpose has made all the difference.

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