The Footsteps For 15

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The Flag of Honor with the names of the 9/11 victims.
The Flag of Honor with the names of the 9/11 victims.

Remembering 9/11 Victims

A fantastic 75-mile journey began Saturday, Aug. 27, from Manhasset to lower Manhattan to raise money for Tuesday’s Children, a Manhasset nonprofit that helps families of terror victims. Eva Casale, 51, a long-distance runner from Glen Cove, and handcyclist Michael Roesch, 36, of Shelter Island, began their 75-mile odyssey on Saturday from Manhasset to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. The Footsteps for 15 run traveled through neighborhoods heavily impacted by 9/11 in commemoration of the 15th anniversary.

Casale, a vice president of IT for Suffolk Federal Credit Union, is an extreme distance runner. as well as an athlete, coach and member of Team in Training. Casale uses her fantastic athletic ability to run distance events such as half-marathons, full marathons and ultra marathons, clocking in anywhere from 13.1 to 26.2 miles and beyond. She has run over 54 full marathons and over 30 ultra-marathons (and counting) since 2006. Last year, she ran seven marathons in seven days in a row.

Pleasant in demeanor, Casale enjoys running and she runs to relieve stress. When asked how she was going to handle the 75-mile course, she said, “I run for nine minutes and walk for two minutes making sure to hydrate.” She has set up her Apple watch to ensure this pace continues throughout the 75-mile course. She is a great believer in the Tuesday’s Children cause and though not personally affected by the events of 9/11, she supports the strategies
created by Tuesday’s Children to help those affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Casale is humble; in 2006, she donated a kidney to a complete stranger.

Roesch served in the Air Force from 1999-2003, and was a member of Air Force Special Operations as a Combat Control specialist. He is now a personal trainer on the eastern end of Long Island where he loves to help others improve their health and quality of life. In his free time, he participates in as many races and endurance events as he can.

In September of 2013, Roesch injured his knee at an obstacle course race. Being the determined athlete, he continued training and participated in the marathon. Around mile 9, his knee completely gave out; however, he didn’t quit and walked to the finish line. He had two knee surgeries and can no longer run, but participates in races with a handcycle that was donated to him by Hope For The Warriors last November.

This spring, Roesch rode his handcycle alongside Casale for the Every Veteran Appreciated event where she ran seven marathons in seven days. Each marathon took place on Long Island and raised funds for Hope For The Warriors.

Casale has a group of supporters called Team Eva who run alongside her during the 75-mile race. The tag team is made up of men and women of all ages. Supported by two vehicles that follow Casale, one vehicle carries a Flag of Honor that is attached to the back of the car which is designed as the American flag with the stripes comprising all the names of the fallen from that fateful day.

Terry Sears, executive director of Tuesday’s Children said, “When Tuesday’s Children was founded almost 15 years ago, we made a solemn promise that those who lost a loved one on 9/11 would never walk alone. Today, with Footsteps for 15, Eva and Michael are traveling roads that so many families have walked. We are deeply grateful to Eva and Michael for helping us keep the promise of long-term support.”

The group was received by the Manhasset Lakeville Firehouse Company One, which hosted a pre-race barbecue supplied by A&F Market in their honor. With an official escort by the Nassau County Highway Patrol, Team Eva, Casale, and Roesch began their trek at 3 p.m. and completed the 75-mile tour the next morning at approximately 9:11 a.m. On her run, she laid wreaths at special memorials to commemorate the event.

When asked whether she will go on vacation after the run she answered “I was on vacation this week, I have work on Monday.”

To contribute to the efforts of Tuesday’s Children visit www.tuesdayschildren.org or Footsteps for 15 visit www.crowdrise.com/footsteps-for-15/fundraiser/tuesdayschildren.

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Elizabeth Johnson is editor of Manhasset Press and Port Washington News, special features including the Business Quarterly column, Manhasset Magazine, Pride In Port, Port Washington News, Port Gift Guide and other special sections. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community Newspaper" several years in a row.

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