wear blue: run to remember is the collective effort of a predominantly-volunteer staff. Meet the team:
Executive Director & Co-Founder
Lisa Hallett is the President and Co-Founder of wear blue: run to remember. On August 25, 2009, Lisa’s husband, CPT John Hallett, was killed when his Stryker was attacked with an improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan. Surviving the loss of her husband, best friend, and father of her three young children, Lisa turned to running. An avid runner, she soon found a community that needed the same kind of support that running gave her. Creating wear blue gave Lisa a healthy outlet for her grief and a path to move forward, and she’s committed to sharing that with others. Lisa has an M.Ed.T. from University of Hawaii and a B.A. in English Literature from University of California- Santa Barbara. She completed dozens of ultramarathons and has set a full marathon PR of 3:28:00. Lisa has completed seven Ironman races, to include the Ironman World Championships. Lisa and her three young children reside in DuPont, WA. They are moving forward and loving life, honoring John with every step.
Erin O’Connor is the co-founder of wear blue: run to remember. An Army brat, Army spouse, and runner, creating wear blue was personal and natural. Sharing her belief in running as a coping mechanism, she loves seeing wear blue grow and provide a support network to so many. She holds an M.P.A. from Western Kentucky University and a B.A. in political science and communications from Virginia Tech. A lifelong runner, Erin ran her first marathon in Rome, Italy while her husband, a career Army Infantry officer, was deployed to Iraq for the first time. Many moves and deployments later, she has since completed seven marathons with a PR of 3:54. Currently stationed in Hawaii, Erin and her husband are raising their four children while continuing their Army adventure.
Ken Barber Chief Operations Officer
Ken Barber served 10 years in the Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer. After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1991, he completed two combat deployments from ships based in San Diego. After his military service, Ken earned an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from DePaul University. He went on to hold leadership positions in banking, corporate finance and several start up businesses. Most recently, Ken was the Executive Director of a veteran focused non-profit in Chicago. He runs 5 days a week and has completed 2 half-marathons, 3 sprint triathlons, and numerous 5k and 10k races. Ken is the father of 4 children (oldest is currently at the Naval Academy), all runners.
Tribute Installation Coordinator
Liz has always found comfort in running. After running her first marathon at 16, she was hooked. While stationed at Joint Base Lewis McCord she was first introduced to Lisa and fellow wear blue runners at a half marathon on post. With her husband deployed, she brought her newborn son and attended a Saturday morning run in the spring of 2011. Ever since that first Saturday she has felt a strong connection to the wear blue community. She found a network of support and a way to deal with the stress of a deployment. Liz feels strongly about the wear blue mission of honoring the fallen and supporting the families. Although Liz has since moved, she has run many marathons and half marathons, all while in blue. She now lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and three children.
Social Media Coordinator
Mike Ohleger graduated from the Virginia Military Institute with a B.A. in History, an M.S. in Information Security Management from the George Washington University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the Naval Postgraduate School. He recently retired from the United States Marine Corps after 20-years of service where he served as a Communications Officer. While Mike’s first sport has always been soccer, he has been an avid runner for over 30 years and has completed 14 marathons, 7 half-marathons, and 2 Army Ten-Milers. Mike’s first exposure to wear blue: run to remember was during the WiPro San Francisco Marathon in 2011. Since that time, Mike has run in honor of one of his VMI classmates, Capt James C. Edge, USMC who was killed in action in 2005, and has volunteered whenever he can to support the wear blue mission. He lives in Stafford, Virginia with his wife and three children (all of which have run with wear blue in several Marine Corps Marathons and Marine Corps Historic-Halfs).
Director of Gold Star Race Program, Seattle
Christina Cochran, wear blue‘s Gold Star Race Program Director, discovered wear blue when she ran through the wear blue Mile during the Marine Corps Marathon in 2016. She was so moved by the experience that she was determined to get involved with wear blue as soon as she returned home. Christina has completed three full marathons and many half marathons (and other distances). She is a military spouse; her husband is a USMC SSgt serving out of Great Lakes, IL, and also a Chicago Police Officer. They live in Chicago, IL with their two young daughters.
Gold Star Youth Mentorship Program Coordinator
LeAnn graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in Criminal Justice Sciences. Her desire to work with youth and give back to the community, led her to Big Brothers Big Sisters. For the last 7 years, she has worked as a Case Manager, Enrollment Specialist, and most recently as the Director of Program Services for BBBS of Southwest Washington. It was there she first learned of wear blue. Her strong belief in the powerful impact that a positive adult mentor can have in the life of a child, helped her to quickly connect with the mission of the Gold Star Youth Mentorship Program. She is a recreational runner and enjoys partaking in a weekly run club and community 5k’s. She currently lives in Braintree, MA with her husband and beloved dog, Siri.
Director of Information and Technology
Jenifer Robertson graduated from University of Washington with a BA in Business Finance and holds a Master of Business Administration from Columbus State University. Jenifer was introduced to wear blue while her family was station at Fort Benning during 2014. In 2015 she moved with her two young children to DuPont, Washington and become actively involved in the Saturday groups. In 2016 she approached Lisa Hallet and offered to support bringing wear blue off spreadsheets and into Salesforce.com Starting in 2017 and going forward now all Races sign ups are stored in Salesforce.com. Jenifer has run over 14 Half-Marathons in blue. She completed her first Ultra Race in 2018 for wear blue and runs for SGT Joshua Rogers. Jenifer currently resides in Bellevue, WA with her two boys. Outside of wear blue, Jenifer is a Sr Program Manager in Technology for T-Mobile Corporation.
Jessica Alley Director of Gold Star Race Program, Marine Corps Marathon
Jessica Alley graduated with a B.S. from Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina in Business Management (Minor in Marketing). She served as a Control Buyer for Circuit City Headquarters for one year and as a Senior Buyer for McLane Company for five years, before deciding to stay home full time with her children. Married to an Army Chaplain and being over 15 years into Army life, she is keenly aware of the importance of exercise as a way to handle the stress of multiple deployments. Turning 30 brought with it an intense desire to become a runner and after attending a Saturday Run with the JBLM Chapter of wear blue in 2011, she knew she had found the perfect mix of fitness and a passion to honor our fallen brothers and sisters. Jessica completed four half marathons in 2013, her first full marathon in 2014, and another half marathon in 2016. Currently stationed at West Point, NY, Jessica lives with her husband, Will, and four children.
Chief Photographer and Visual Coordinator
Ingrid Barrentine has been making images for wear blue: run to remember since she worked as a photojournalist at the Northwest Guardian: the installation newspaper on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Ingrid came to the newspaper in 2009 with no military experience, so the first weeks were a crash course in rank, unit structure, and military propriety. Two weeks into the job, the first casualty notifications from the 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division began to arrive at her desk. That year, Ingrid documented numerous memorial services and monument dedications, beginning to connect with many of the members of the initial wear blue community. In 2011, Ingrid started her own commercial photography business and has been volunteering with wear blue: run to remember ever since. Ingrid received her BA from the University of Washington Tacoma. Her commercial clients include Alaska Airlines, MultiCare Health Systems, and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
Director of Saturday Runs - Sustaining Communities
Misty Ferguson graduated from Marshall University with a BBA in Business Management and holds a Masters of Business Administration (HR and Marketing) from George Washington University. Misty currently is a program manager for another nationwide non-profit. Misty was introduced to wear blue by a friend in 2013 and first held a flag on the Blue Mile at the MCM that year. She knew then that she wanted to be more involved with wear blue, remembering those lost from her husband's units. Moving shortly after that MCM, Misty started a meet-up at Fort Bliss, TX. Misty has completed the Army 10-Miler twice, one half marathon and the full 26.2 mile Bataan Memorial Death March. Currently in Boston, MA, Misty lives with her active duty husband and three boys.
Director of Merchandise
Laura graduated from Frostburg State University with a B.S. degree in Business Management where she was on the Track & Field team. After returning to running in 2011, Laura discovered wear blue‘s website while searching for a way to honor LCpl Patrick R. Adle who was Killed in Action 29 June 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Experiencing the pain of losing someone during the War on Terror, having a husband who is an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat veteran and a father who served over 30 years in the Army National Guard, wear blue‘s mission immediately resonated with Laura. She received a bib through the wear blue Marine Corps Marathon lottery in 2013 and completed her first full marathon with a time of 4:27. During this race Laura was able to honor Patrick’s sacrifice with a poster on the wear blue Mile. She is passionate about wear blue and its ability to bring many demographics together to serve the mission of honoring the service and sacrifice of the American military. Laura lives in Harford County, Maryland with her husband and son.
Director of Memorial Day
Cindy Gersch has worked with the military for more than 20 years. She earned her BA in journalism from the State University of Brockport in 1998. Cindy was first introduced to the military as a reporter for the local CBS affiliate where her “beat” was Fort Drum. She now serves as the Vice President of Corporate Communications for Hunt Companies where she oversees communications for more than 120,000 military family members living in one of the 32,000 Hunt Company homes throughout the country. Married to a Blackhawk Pilot who continues to serve in the National Guard, Cindy is the mother of two children who keep her extremely busy. Cindy has completed 12 full marathons, holding a PR of 3:37:25. She and her family live outside of Atlanta.
Director For the Fighting Race Program
Dave Leach enlisted in the Army in 1986 and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. After being awarded a Green to Gold ROTC Scholarship and commission as an Aviation Officer, he served in a variety of aviation assignments at Fort Bragg, Turkey, Iraq, Germany, and Belgium. Dave earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Methodist University and a Master’s Degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. An ardent runner, Dave has completed 9 marathons, 2 half marathons, the Army Ten Miler, the Ironman (UK) in Sherborne, England, the Ironman 70.3 in Rapperswil, Switzerland, a half iron distance race in Lisbon, Portugal, and the JFK 50 Miler. Dave, his wife, and three children are all runners and support the wear blue mission.
Director of Running & Training
Jen McDonald received her Bachelor's degree in physical therapy from the University of Vermont, a MS in Basic Sciences from Clarkson University, and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Simmons College. An Army ROTC scholarship recipient, Jen was commissioned into the Army Medical Specialist Corps after graduation from UVM and served on active duty at Ft. Benning, GA. She is currently a Professor in the Physical Therapist Assistant program at the State University of NY at Canton, and also practices as a PT at a local hospital. Jen is a RRCA certified running coach. An avid runner, Jen completed her first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, in 1996. She's completed 10 marathons, multiple half-marathons, and a number of sprint and Olympic triathlons. Jen is a Boston marathon qualifier and plans to run her first ultra marathon in 2017. Jen is passionate about helping people run healthy, in order to achieve both the physical and mental benefits of the sport and is honored to be able to support wear blue runners in achieving their goals. She lives in Northern NY with her husband, also an Army veteran, and is the proud mom of two adult sons.
Director of Race Operations
Kandi Newkirk attended The Ohio State University and holds a B.A. degree in Business Administration. Kandi began running after the birth of her only child in 2009. The personal challenges were exciting, but it was running through the wear blue Mile during her first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in 2012, that changed her perspective completely. Kandi’s father served in Vietnam with the US Marine Corps. wear blue’s mission to honor the service and sacrifice of the American military resonated with her patriotic spirit, especially since little honor was shown when her father returned home after the Vietnam War. Kandi now finds purpose and passion in her steps as she honors several soldiers, one being her father’s friend, PFC Charles Wetzel, who was Killed in Action in Vietnam in 1966. Kandi is responsible for coordinating with each race wear blue activates a wear blue Mile. Kandi lives in Western North Carolina. She has completed 21 half marathons, 5 Marine Corps Marathon, the Athens, Greece Marathon, and two Half Ironman events in Augusta, Georgia.
Director of Saturday Runs & Military Outreach
Beth Stitt graduated from Norwich University Military college of Vermont with a B.S. degree in Recreation. She is presently an Army spouse of 21 years and a mother to two teenage daughters. A college athlete, an avid recreational runner and triathlete who has competed in 1 70.3 triathlon, 2 marathons, 7 half marathons, and multiple sprint triathlons. She came to wear blue through the Washington Post article and so closely identified with the mission of wear blue. Having seen first hand the devastating effects through the years of the GWOT, it felt like the perfect match for her as a runner and an Army spouse.
Carrie Moschetto Director of Saturday Runs - Emerging Communities
Carrie Moschetto is a proud Marine Corps spouse of 12 years, and a native of Lakewood, Washington. Growing up around military life and sharing a birthday with Memorial Day she has always felt a deep sense of patriotism and desire to give back to the military community. In 2007, a close friend lost her husband, SGT Mickel D. Garrigus in Iraq. Carrie made a promise that she would never let the sacrifice of the Garrigus family be forgotten. In 2012, still looking for a way to honor Mickel, Carrie discovered wear blue through some longtime friends and ordered her first shirt. After receiving her wear blue shirt, she set out to train for her first 5k. After she completing this first race, she began hosting a wear blue Memorial Day run in Oceanside, California. She now leads a Saturday Run Community in Quantico, Virginia. Carrie has now completed multiple 5ks, 10ks, 10 milers, half marathons, and marathon. She is currently training for her first 100K. She is honored to run all her races in blue with SGT Garrigus’ name on her back.
Anchor Community Leads
Augusta GA Chapter Co-President
Erik Adams enlisted in the US Army in 1999 as a Medic. He served two combat tours to Iraq and a special assignment as an Instructor. Erik lives in Augusta, GA where he works as a Hospital Operations Manager for the Fort Gordon Medical Center. He holds a BA in Health Care Administration from Ashford University and a MS in Organizations Development and Leadership from the University of the Incarnate Word. Erik is an active member of the New Leaders Council of Augusta, where he is able to impact his community in a positive and forward movement. His passion for running began in 2008, where Erik ran his first half marathon as part of the Music City Half Marathon - Nashville. Since then, he has completed over 14 other half marathons to include the Army Ten Miler in 2016. In July 2015, Erik joined the wear blue: run to remember family. Since then, he has taken an active role in spreading the mission of wear blue while improving and supporting the city of Augusta, GA.
Augusta, GA Chapter Co-President
Joe Matosian first encountered wear blue: run to remember at the Army Ten Miler Expo in 2013 and it immediately resonated with him, combining his passion for running with his love for our military. Shortly before the first Augusta meet-up on Memorial Day 2014, Joe lost his son-in-law in a tragic accident. In the midst of his family’s devastating loss, Joe found strength and healing through running and his faith. The power of the wear blue community became clear to him. A career civil servant with the Department of Defense, Joe has worked at multiple duty stations over the past 27+ years. He attended the University of Maryland, College Park and earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Kinesiology. He is also a certified personal trainer. A lifelong runner, Joe has completed eleven marathons and many half marathons, and Ten-Milers. He has two grown daughters and currently resides with his wife, Gina, and their very spoiled miniature dachshund in the suburbs of Augusta, GA.
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Fort Bragg Chapter Co-President
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Jackie has called Fayetteville home for the last 15 years. Graduating from Youngstown State with a degree in Early Childhood Education, she currently teaches first grade at a local elementary school. Jackie is married to Jason, with whom she has one son Peyton. It wasn’t until becoming a Girls on the Run coach that she became serious about running. Since then, she has run numerous half and full marathons. Jackie discovered wear blue on one of her early morning runs starting at Clark Park. When running for wear blue she honors CPT Kimberly Hampton, CPL Stephan Ayala, CW3 Jason Thomas, and SPC Jared Stanker. Jackie has been Co-President of the Fort Bragg Chapter since June 2016 and is an active member of the Fayetteville Running Club (FRC).
Liz is a mother of 5 children and the spouse of an active duty Army soldier. Liz holds a BA in communications from Regis College. While at Regis, she played field hockey, swam, and was a founding member of the women's lacrosse program. She also served on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Since becoming a mother in 2008, Liz increased her running even more. In 2010, she ran her first marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon in honor to fallen hero Marine Lance Corporal Jeff Burgess. It is because of the wear blue Mile that Liz discovered the wear blue community. Liz served as the San Antonio community leader, before joining the Fort Bragg team.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Joint Base Lewis-McChord Chapter Co-President
Rachel Elizalde-Powell made a promise to her brother, SFC Adrian Elizalde, prior to his deployment to Iraq in 2007, that they would run a half marathon together. On August 23, 2007, Rachel’s brother and only sibling was killed when his vehicle was struck by an IED. Despite not being a runner, Rachel followed through with her promise and completed the Seattle Half Marathon in 2009. After seeing the wear blue Mile at the 2011 Seattle Rock n’ Roll Marathon, she began running with wear blue: run to remember. Running gave her a healthy way to feel Adrian’s presence. She has run multiple half marathons and 5 full marathons. Rachel works as a full-time clinical educator with medical devices and is currently earning her Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management. Rachel’s drive, commitment and passion for the military has made her a natural leader in the wear blue: run to remember community.
San Antonio, Texas
Springfield, VA/DC Chapter Co-President
Melda is a 27 year Navy CIvil Engineer Corps (CEC) wife with six growing children and a background in nursing. Although she ran track in high school, she never considered distance running until a Navy friend with leukemia ran a half marathon to raise money for LLS. If someone can run a half marathon between rounds of chemo, she felt she had no excuses. She ran her first half marathon while stationed on Guam at 41 with a time of 2:03proving you can teach an old dog new tricks. She now runs in blue for Air Force Captain Brandon Cyr, the son of fellow CEC friends that were also stationed on Guam at the time of their sons death in April 2013. She is also a volunteer coach with Girls on the Run and shares her passion for running in blue with others.
Candice graduated from Newman University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. A wife and mother of two boys, Candice turned to running for free therapy. In 2015, Candice lost her friend, Captain Christopher Norgren during a humanitarian mission in Nepal. She was already in training for her second marathon when the opportunity arose for her to run the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington D.C. On mile 12, she found her friend and wear blue: run to remember. She came home and established a community group and began to spread the mission. Since founding her community, She has worked to establish a wear blue mile during her local marathon and half marathon race series. She has connected with many families across the country and continues to honor their sacrifice by taking purposeful steps in honor of their loved ones. She works closely with our race director to coordinate volunteers across the country.