Last Leg of the Patriot Run: Rinaldi to Jump Start Keys 100
Friday, May 18, 2012

John Pyle passes the 3,000-mile mark in Palm Beach, Fla. with PBI members.

Krystal Causey running with John Pyle

This week many members in the South Florida area ran the Patriot Run Across America with John Pyle, joining NATCA’s cause to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The fact that NATCA members, friends, supporters and families have donated over $13,000 so far speaks volumes. But we still have a stretch to reach our goal of $25,000. Donate here now to support your wounded warriors!

West Palm Beach Tower (PBI) member Veronica Stein recruited six NATCA controllers to run with Pyle on Tuesday for his 3,000-mile-mark celebration in Palm Beach, Fla. for a 2.2-mile run around the Wellington Mall, a suburb just west of the city. And although she was not able to run herself due to an injury, she came out to support them even though it was raining and on the verge of storming.

Stein and her family have a history in the military and that was the underlying reason she joined the cause. Stein, her father, Clifford, and nephew, Jayson, served in the Air Force. Her stepfather, Gerald Gaecke, and father-in-law, Walter Stein, served in the Korean War.

“I feel like there’s a gap in this country caring for our wounded warriors,” said Stein. “That was my driving force, along with seeing Trish and Ruth’s support.”

One PBI member Stein first convinced to run was Dianna Johnston, an army Vet who served eight years in the military. She, her husband, Jack, also an army Vet, and even her six-year-old son, Jackson, all joined the 2.2-mile run on Tuesday. As a family, Dianna feels she and her husband are very fortunate to not have suffered a severe injury while serving.

“It’s unfortunate how underserved wounded warriors are today,” said Dianna. “The nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project really does everything physically and mentally to help them face their new life. We, as Americans, have to take care of our own.”

Miami Center (ZMA) members Krystal and Ben Causey also ran with Pyle Tuesday in a 4.5-mile run on State Road 7 in Margate, Fla., just north of Fort Lauderdale. Krystal said she first heard of Pyle when she ran the half-marathon with several other NATCA members from ZMA.

“I thought it was amazing enough that this man can run a marathon with the American Flag, let alone across the country,” Krystal said.

Ben talked about the patriotic spirit Pyle brings to this cause, and how NATCA members should embody that spirit as well, because controllers deal with military pilots on a daily basis.

“We talk with military pilots all the time not knowing whether or not they’ll be back the next day after being deployed,” said Ben. “John's patriotic attitude is so infectious, you can't help but be moved by him. He makes you want to be part of something bigger than ourselves.”

This weekend, the Patriot Run Across America will finish its journey across the country. Pyle built his schedule so that his last 100 miles would run with the Keys 100 ultra marathon race. After averaging 40 miles a day for the last two months, Pyle will finish this momentous feat with a 100-mile race to the finish.

NATCA members, inspired by Pyle’s run with the American Flag wanted to be with him for the finish. But few people can run 100 miles in a day. Luckily the Keys 100 includes the option to participate as a six-person relay team. NATCA members from ZMA formed the NATCA Running Relay team to support the cause. Our brothers and sisters in PASS joined the effort, providing a runner for the team and assisting with the fundraising. NATCA President, Paul Rinaldi, will be joining the NATCA Running team at the start line in Key Largo on Saturday morning, running alongside Pyle as he sets off on the last leg of this amazing trek.

For pictures and other information regarding NATCA members’ participation, visit its Facebook page N A T C A running. Please refer here for a map of the Keys 100 race. For more information on the Keys 100 race, visit

The Patriot Run Across America is organized by the Patriot Trust, Inc., a non-profit organization formed in 2011 to aid American servicemen and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a nonprofit whose mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors. Every year, wounded warriors and caregivers receive support each year through WWP programs and services. Find out more about the Patriot Run Across American at or the Wounded Warrior Project at

From left to right: Jack Johnston, Dianna Johnston, Joey Roman, Jackson Johnston, John Pyle, Veronica Stein, Nadiya Green, Robert Morgan, Patrick Smith, Addie Green, Elizabyth Green.

From left to right: Krystal Causey, John Pyle and Ben Causey