Gold Star mother to run Marine Corps Marathon with Team USO of NC as part of 1,000-mile journey

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Cathy Powers’ story is one of achievement, empowerment and resiliency. Powers, a Gold Star mother, is running 1,000 miles across the country this year in honor of her son, Senior Airman Bryce Kenneth Powers who passed away in 2013 after a motor vehicle accident while serving in Japan. As part of her 1,000-mile cross-country journey, Powers is running the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon with Team USO of NC on October 27, in support of those who follow in her son’s footsteps in service.

Powers didn’t start running until April 2018, when she decided to, largely on a whim, run a half marathon in Tennessee to honor her son’s legacy. Little did she know that after walking up and running down every hill in the race, she would win first place for her age group, sparking a desire to keep running and changing her life.

Just a few months after that race, Powers learned about the USO of North Carolina’s Marine Corps Marathon charity bib opportunity while volunteering at the USO of NC Charlotte MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) center. Powers regularly volunteers and encourages recruits and supports their families from the very moment they join the military.

“At the MEPS, I’m a mom to everyone,” Powers said.

In exchange for guaranteed race entry, Team USO of NC charity runners raise donations to benefit the USO of North Carolina and connect our service members to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation. She decided to join the team because the cause she committed to running for was close to her heart. Not only does Powers serve as a USO of NC Piedmont Area volunteer, but our Honors Support Team was there for her, by her family’s side, when her son returned home for the last time.

“When they brought his body home for his hometown funeral, the Charlotte center let us stay in their back room. There were volunteers there to encourage us. They were a silent comfort and they even went out with us on the tarmac. They didn’t leave us to do it alone.”

Powers says that when her marathon completion medal was placed upon her neck, her life was changed. She has since lost more than 100 pounds, found a special joy in running, and was ultimately inspired to begin her 1,000-mile journey in support of Wreaths Across America.

“If you asked me a year ago, what person would run a marathon – if there was ever a last person to get picked it was me. But now, it’s my pace, my race. I don’t have to beat anyone but the bridge,” she said.

When asked if she had any advice for those considering running the race alongside Team USO of NC, Powers said “I would tell them that they can do it. One hundred percent, they can do it.”

Join Cathy Powers as a member of Team USO of NC by visiting

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