This post is made possible with support from the Wounded Warrior Project. All opinions are my own.

As military spouses, we have a personal connection to a community of those who serve. Once I became an Army wife, I took a good hard look at the other men in my family who bravely served as well. Not only did my husband wear the uniform, but so did his father and his grandfather, my dad, my uncle, my grandfathers, and my great uncles. All of these men joined for various reasons, including World War II, Vietnam, to establish a respectable career, or to simply give back like their fathers before them. 

To put it simply, the men in my family have a legacy of military service, and I am grateful. 

Who I Carry For

My grandparents, Mary Lou and Jack.

One beloved veteran in particular is Jack, my grandfather and my namesake. He was just 17 years old when he lied about his age to enlist in the U.S. Navy during WWII. When I think about him fare welling his parents and siblings and leaving behind his small mountain town in West Virginia, I am beyond impressed. My grandfather so strongly felt the selfless call to serve our nation, that he chose to face the unknown, risk his life, and exhibit an impressive amount of courage at a young age. 

While in the Navy, he and my grandmother, Mary Lou, were pen pals. The young couple mailed love letters back and forth, complete with black and white photos. When Jack returned home, the two were inseparable. They soon married, and enjoyed a long and happy marriage for nearly 70 years, before his passing in 2017. Mary Lou is now in her nineties and loves and misses her Jack to this day.

My grandfather passed away three years ago this month, so I am honoring his memory in a way that supports other veterans. This year, I’m participating in the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) Carry Forward 5K, delivered by CSX. My grandfather’s bravery and selflessness in his military journey moved me to commemorate him in support of the WWP mission, to honor and empower wounded warriors. 

Join Me in the Virtual Carry Forward 5K

Carry Forward is your chance to take action in a unique, tangible way for wounded warriors. Every day, 50 service members sign up to receive critical services and support from WWP. Because of YOU, warriors can receive support while on their journey to recovery, whether their injuries are visible or invisible. Our nation’s bravest need you now, more than ever.


On September 19th, I’ll be participating in the Nashville, TN Carry Forward 5K, virtually.

Training in the rain!

You should join me in the virtual 5K:

  • If you have someone you’d like to honor
  • If you want a tangible way to support WWP
  • If you want to support veterans and military families
  • If you’d just like to get out of the house and moving

To donate to WWP, click our Army Wife 101 page for the Virtual 5K here:

Don’t forget to stretch!

How Does a Virtual 5K Work?

With Carry Forward, you can raise support and awareness of the needs of our veterans in your own community. You can select your own date — it could be Veterans Day, a birthday, an anniversary, or any day that is convenient for you — to easily organize your 5K event. It can be a run or walk, and can be solo, with family, or socially distanced with friends. 

Check out the swag!

All you have to do is register online, raise money through your convenient portal, and check your mailbox! Within two to three weeks after registering, you’ll receive some really cool swag to include:

  • An official Carry Forward drawstring bag
  • Bib
  • Sweatband
  • Eye blacks
  • And of course — a race medal!

Please help our Army Wife 101 team support the WWP mission of honoring and empowering wounded warriors, by supporting our Carry Forward, or hosting a virtual 5K of your own. Warriors across the country will appreciate your support.



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A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” former Army wife Jackie Toops enjoys exploring the various facets of her personality by chronicling military life, world travels, family, her love of the arts and more. Her academic background is in the fields of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and she has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. Jackie’s articles have been featured on Army Wife 101, Wall Street International Magazine, SoFluential, HomeAway, Military Biz Connection and FamiliesGo. While stationed in Germany, she regularly discussed her articles on-air with the Armed Forces Network in Wiesbaden. A mother of two, Jackie enjoys coffee, freelance writing, languages and discovering new ways to express herself. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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