ECU ROTC commander to run marathon, raise funds for wounded soldiers
(Sept. 28, 2007)
Lt. Col. Steve Delvaux used to run to stay in shape and as part of his training as an Army officer, serving two tours of duty in Iraq.
Now, he is running with a bigger mission: for fellow soldiers.
On Oct. 28th, Delvaux will run 26.2 miles in the 32nd Annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., and with every mile he will be raising funds for wounded soldiers in military hospitals across the country.
He has set a personal goal of raising $10,000 for the Azalea Charity’s Aid for Wounded Soldiers project. And he’s more than three-fourths there.
Delvaux arrived at East Carolina University in June as professor of military science and battalion commander of ECU’s Army ROTC program. He spent the last four years serving in the 187th Infantry Regiment, the Army’s famed “Iron Rakkasans,” as part of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), based at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Azalea Charity is a non-profit organization that raises money to provide comfort and relief items to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines sick or injured from service in Iraq orAfghanistan. In addition to providing items to soldiers atWalter Reed Army MedicalCenter in Washington, D.C., where many injured soldiers are sent when they first return to the United States after being injured, the group assists the Durham VA Medical Center and the Wounded Warriors Barracks at Camp Lejeune.
Delvaux ran in his first marathon in April–the Country Music Marathon in Nashville. After five months of intensive training, he told his wife the morning of the marathon that it would be his first and last. But the next day, he realized he liked the challenge and having a goal to work for so he signed up for the Marine Corps marathon.
“It struck me that if I was going to be running in it then I should make it mean something,” said Delvaux. “Right now I feel kind of helpless since I’m not in a unit deployed. I felt there was something I could do for those men and women wounded.”
During his years in Iraq, Delvaux saw the effects of IEDs and sniper bullets on fellow servicemen and women.
A native of South Dakota, Delvaux joined the Army immediately after high school and earned an appointment to West Point. After graduating in 1990, he received his commission as an infantry officer and was assigned to the Berlin Brigade in Berlin, Germany. He was later stationed atFort Campbell, as part of the 101st Airborne Division, earned his master’s degree in military history from FloridaState University, taught military history at West Point, and was stationed in Korea for a year before being reassigned to the 101st Airborne. With that division, he deployed to Iraq in 2003 for eight months and returned for another year in 2005, returning home Sept. 12, 2006.
Delvaux said that ECU was number one on his wish list for his next assignment as a ROTC program director.
He admits that recruiting for military service during wartime isn’t easy, but he said that he has found the ECU cadets to be outstanding and the region very supportive of military service.
The ECU program typically awards 12 to 15 four-year scholarships for freshmen who pledge to serve as active duty or in the reserve forces for four years.
“We don’t have a shortage of students in line for those scholarships,” Delvaux said.
During the day, Delvaux works to shape those cadets into future Army officers, some of whom may see service in Iraqor Afghanistanth marathon. in the coming years. But in the early morning hours, Delvaux is working to get himself in shape for the Oct. 28th marathon.
“When I decided to run for a charity, I wanted one that would aid those soldiers in their most desperate hour of need,” said Delvaux, while surrounded in his ECU ROTC office with framed pho