Monday, September 01, 2014

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Cortland/Ithaca

Soldier running to help others

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Soldier running to help others
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The soldiers of Fort Drum will say it's hard to explain: Men and women from all over the world coming together to form a community in the North Country. With so much diversity, it isn't easy to fit in or find ways to give back. But our Brian Dwyer introduces us to one soldier who has made it his mission to hit the ground running.

FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- A new place, new people, a new culture. Throw in the job itself and there's no question the life of a soldier can be stressful. The lucky ones find a passion to make it easier.

"Running in general is just kind of a stress reliever. It's like a catharsis almost. You feel better after you do it. The endorphins starting flowing," Spc. Matthew Gonzales said.

And for Gonzales, running is not only his release, but it's also his way to experience this new home.

Each weekend, Gonzales hits the web looking for a community run. Whether it be to raise money or awareness for a cause or for an organization, he travels the North Country to be there, meet new people and of course, run.

Gonzales said, "I feel like I might be more a part of the community if I actually go out, participate and do things for the community instead of just staying here and being what they call a barracks rat."

It's been so successful for Gonzales, he's even got his girlfriend and good friends to join in.

"We like to be a part of the community as best as possible. It's good to go out there and show we care. The way the community accepts us, it's awesome that we can pull together and do these kinds of things," said Spc. Eric Schroder.

And it doesn't hurt that running is a big requirement for soldiers, so this, Gonzales says, beats the treadmill.

"It gives me more a sense of purpose. Instead of exercising, you kind of kill two birds with one stone," Gonzales said.

And on those weekends without an event, Gonzales says he's having so much fun getting to know the North Country, he's looking for other ways to volunteer.

Gonzales is set to leave for training for a few weeks and says he can't wait to get back and find his next run.

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