BRATTLEBORO -- Therese Marcy knows about the work the MARSOC Foundation does to support the soldiers in the U.S. Marine Corps. Forces Special Operations Command, or MARSOC, and their families.
Marcy's son, Maj. Paul Marcy, is a member of the elite MARSOC unit, and when a fellow soldier was killed in Afghanistan he received financial help through the MARSOC Foundation to attend the funeral.
MARSOC was created in 2005, and Marcy said the unit is not very well known.
To raise awareness and support the MARSOC Foundation, Marcy will be running in a 5K road race in Seaside Heights, N.J., on Sept. 13.
She wants to raise at least $4,000, but almost as important, she said, is that she wants more people to learn about what the MARSOC unit does and how the MARSOC Foundation supports the soldiers and their families.
"Most people never heard of MARSOC," Marcy said. "What I'm doing is trying to raise money for the MARSOC Foundation, and to know why MARSOC needs a foundation is to know MARSOC and what they do."
Then-U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of MARSOC in late 2005, and the unit was officially activated in February 2006.
There are about 2,500 marines in the special unit, which carries out direct action, counter-terrorism and information operations.
These Marines also work with army units within friendly foreign nations.
Marcy's son was one of the first marines chosen to join MARSOC.
Paul Marcy grew up in Brattleboro and graduated from Northfield Mount Hermon High School in 2004.
He was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor in 2011 for helping save the lives of a number of his fellow Marines during a six-day battle in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Daniel Pierce received a Bronze Star the same day, and he was the soldier who was killed in Afghanistan later whose funeral Marcy attended with the help of the MARSOC Foundation.
Pierce was later injured and so he had to spend team healing. After he was ready for combat again he went back to Afghanistan, though he went back with a different team.
He was killed in Afghanistan.
Paul received help from the MARSOC Foundation to attend Pierce's funeral.
"I will be running for one of Paul's friends who died. That really did affect me," Marcy said. "The reason for the foundation is to support the wounded and the families of the fallen. I want people to know what they do."
The MARSOC Foundation provides financial support to the Marines and to their families after a Marine is wounded and the organization also honors those who have died by helping friends and families attend funerals and memorial services.
The group also helps during transition periods, helps pay for training and classes following military service, and works to support family resiliency when Marines are recovering or reintegrating back home.
Maj. Marcy has been deployed five times in the past 10 years.
He currently is training other Marines at a base in Alameda, Cal., where his mother said he will hopefully stay for at least three years.
Marcy contacted Gov. Peter Shumlin earlier this year to tell him about the foundation and the Governor declared August MARSOC Foundation Month in Vermont. It was the first time a state has declared a month in honor of the organization.
Marcy does not consider herself a serious athlete, but she said she has been training for the 5K race.
And with every donation she receives, she is hoping that someone else will learn about the MARSOC Foundation.
"It's important to know that there are soldiers fighting the fight," Marcy said. "There is a need for us to help them when they need help. This is my way of giving back because they are truly heroes."
Marcy set up a fundraising page at www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/SeasideHeights5K_ThereseMarcy/SeasideSemperFive.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. Follow him on Twitter @HowardReformer.