Mark Goldman is on a mission to finish 13 Ironman races in honor of the 13 U.S. service members who died during the U.S. pullout in Afghanistan two years ago. Running with an American flag and another flag bearing a service member's name, Goldman recently completed the St. George, Utah, Ironman race in honor of Marine Staff Sergeant Taylor Hoover, a Utah native.
During the race, the athlete met Hoover's family and gifted them the flag. Hoover's father describes it as a "tremendous honor" for Goldman to remember his son. While his mother says Goldman's efforts brought out a "certain spirit" in her and serve as a comforting reminder that her son has not been forgotten.
Goldman was inspired by Hoover's mantra to always do the right thing and keep moving, which helped him make it through the challenging 70-mile race. The announcer at the finish line recognized Hoover's sacrifice and mentioned the family members present. He hopes others will join him in honoring fallen service members, even with simple activities like walking, hiking, or biking, and says, "If one American dedicated some part of their life by making themselves move in forward progress, then I think we're better off as a country."