Young runner motivates birthday run participants

Maj. Gen. Jimmie O. Keenan presents Pablo Sierra IV with a command coin

Maj. Gen. Jimmie O. Keenan, MEDCOM Deputy Commanding General (Operations) and Chief, U.S. Army Nurse Corps, presents Pablo Sierra IV with a command coin June 5 for his participation and motivation during the June 3 Army birthday run at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. (Photo courtesy of Staff Sgt. Pablo Sierra III)

It is often said that "big things come in little packages." That expression was witnessed firsthand by Soldiers at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, during a post-wide three-mile installation run June 3 to celebrate the Army's 240th birthday. Less than four feet tall and weighing less than 60 pounds, 10-year-old Pablo Sierra IV joined his dad Staff Sgt. Pablo Sierra III and Soldiers from the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research as they ran in formation with the U.S. Army Medical Command and other major commands on post.

During the run, the MEDCOM 1st Sgt. noticed the young runner in the formation and asked him to run alongside her.

"She took him, and they were running circles around the formation and motivating runners who were falling behind to keep up," said proud father of the young runner. "That was pretty cool."

"She told me to yell at them and tell them to 'fall back in,'" said the fourth grader. "It made me feel special and important."

"Imagine as I was leading the run for our MEDCOM headquarters seeing this phenomenal young runner with a big smile running around with our first sergeant encouraging our Soldiers to keep focused," said Maj. Gen. Jimmie O. Keenan, MEDCOM Deputy Commanding General (Operations) and Chief, U.S. Army Nurse Corps. "Pablo truly represented us well and motivated our entire MEDCOM formation."

This may be a sign of things to come.

"He has been telling me for a few years now that he wants to join the military," said Sierra III. "Like any kid, his favorite color or other things may change, but him telling me that he's joining the military has never changed."

"I've known since I was seven that I wanted to join the military when I grow up," Sierra IV said. "The uniform and the people wearing the uniform are special. I'm very proud of my parents. They are both in the Army and are special, and I want to continue the tradition."

While it may be several years before he can join the military and wear the uniform, Sierra IV will continue to run with his dad whenever possible, for this wasn't the first time he ran in formationâ€"he'd run with his dad a couple of time before.

"I like running and playing sports," said Sierra IV.

The young runner's willingness to run and participate with the 1st Sgt. didn't go unnoticed. Keenan asked to meet the young Sierra at the MEDCOM headquarters a couple of days after the run.

"She gave me a coin and told me that I did a good job and that she was proud of me," said Sierra IV.

Not only did he get a coin from the general, he was also coined by the USAISR Commander, Col. (Dr.) Michael D. Wirt.

"It's funny because he now has two coins like my wife," said Sierra IV. "Except that his are from higher ranking Army officers than hers. That doesn't matter though. What matters is that we are both very proud of him, and we know that whatever he decides to do in the future he'll do a great job and continue making us proud of him."

"When his parents brought him over to MEDCOM headquarters so that I could recognize him, he asked if we could get a selfie," said Keenan. "It made my day."

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Last Modified Date: 01-Jul-2015