Team McNurlen-Thompson join forces with The Masked Veteran

Casey Thompson and Preston McNurlen joined Josh Jorgenson, "The Masked Veteran" for a run from Agency to Fairfield on Thursday, Sept. 21.

            For 10 days straight, 101st Airborne and Iraq veteran Josh Jorgenson ran across the state of Iowa to raise awareness for Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder and veteran suicide, adding the grueling task of jogging in the heat with a gas mask around his face. Along the way, “The Masked Veteran” was joined by the dynamic running duo of Casey Thompson and Preston McNurlen to join his cause of awareness.

            “[Thompson] contacted me through Facebook and wanted to come out and join me for a part of my run,” Jorgenson said. “I’m happy to have others join me and we decided to start in Agency and they would stay with me until Fairfield as I planned to run down Highway 34.”

            While heavy rain delayed the start of their run on September 21, this opportunity allowed Thompson and Jorgenson to connect over their love for running and working with those in the service.

            “He’s got an excellent cause that is near and dear to my heart,” Thompson said. “Working in emergency services and knowing the psychological effects that are imposed on people in the service, police officers, military, you see some bad stuff. It does take a toll on the mind, and Josh was advocating for those people. It’s outlandish that he runs with that mask on, but it sheds light on the issues our service men and women face.”

            Together, the trio ran 20 miles after the rain went away in the late morning hour. Along the way, cars would honk at them to show their support and family members followed closely.

            “We had a great run that day,” Thompson said. “We got delayed because of rain, but I never so many people honk their horns and give thumbs up. I can’t say it was because we were with him, and he says it’s not because he was with us. People see that people helping peopleand they get behind the cause. It was neat to be a part.”

            The Masked Veteran would continue on to Lockridge, hitting his daily goal of 35-40 miles a day to be able to make the journey across Iowa in 10 days. Though his time with Thompson and McNurlen was short, Jorgenson feels he connected with the two and will keep in contact with them.

            “We both turned our hobby of running into something more than just that, and this stretch was made easier having them by my side,” Jorgensen said. “They are very inspirational to me. There are a lot of people struggling, and this run is a reminder that if we all come together, we can do great things.