In our story this week on ultra runner Mike Ehredt's quest to run coast-to-coast and place a flag every mile to honor America's nearly 4,400 war dead from Iraq, we ran out of room (in print) to let people know when he'll be in this area. Also, we asked Mike to calculate where the flags of some of our local war dead will be located. To follow Mike, check out his blog. There is a day-by-day map of his route, plus he will upload GPS coordinates of every flag he places with a little info about the soldier being honored.
The first leg of the six-month run has him spending a week in this region. He reaches LaCrosse, Wash., on May 14. The neighboring town of Washtucna lost 22-year-old Blain Ebert to a sniper’s bullet in Baghdad in 2004. After a rest day, he'll continue:
May 16: Colfax
May 17: Plummer
May 18: Athol
May 19: Sandpoint
May 20: Clark Fork
This region has lost roughly two dozen service members in Iraq. We asked Ehredt for the locations of honor flags for a handful:---
• Spc. Jeffrey Shaver of Spokane, the first Washington National Guardsman killed in combat in nearly a half-century, was the 773rd death in Iraq and his flag will be placed three miles east of Portland, NY, on approximately Sept. 19.
• Spc. Timothy Kiser was a Californian attached to an Idaho National Guard company from the Post Falls and Moscow armories. He was the company’s first casualty when an IED exploded right outside the Humvee he was driving. The 1,580th death, Kiser’s flag will be placed nine miles east of Lisbon, Iowa, on Aug. 12.
• Sgt. Jacob Demand, Palouse, whose death is vividly described as selfless and heroic in the documentary “Bad Voodoo’s War” was the 1,028th soldier killed and his flag will be placed 15 miles west of Roanoke, Indiana, Sept. 2.
• Spc. James Riekena served with the Post Falls armory and came through his Idaho National Guard deployment unscathed. He volunteered for a second deployment and joined a Puerto Rican National Guard unit in Baghdad where he was killed by a car bomb. His flag, No. 3,018, will be placed 75 miles south of Lander, Wyoming on June 10.
People interested helping Mike can sign up to sponsor flags for individual soldiers or donate in general via his website. All proceeds, he says, go to Honoring Our Veterans, a nonprofit based in Jackson Hole, Wyo., that provides retreats for disabled vets from Iraq and Afghanistan.