By Nancy Covert
Who’s the man jogging through town, carrying a US flag? Anyone who’s out and about between 7 and 9 a.m. most sunny mornings is likely to see the 6′ 6″ runner, jogging along Old Military Road, following a course that takes him between Steilacoom, Lakewood and back. It takes about 40 minutes to run five miles, says Charles Thomas, the man with the flag.
Mr. Thomas, who turns 53 on November 6, began running after he retired three years ago after a 22-year Army nursing career. Originally from Mississippi, he and his family settled in the area after his recent tour at Madigan.
Aside from the obvious reason of running to stay fit, he says he runs “for all his fallen comrades, for all soldiers with debilitating injuries who will be in rehabilitation for the rest of their lives, for their families, and also for all soldiers out on the patrol route.”
Having served in the Middle East between 2003-05, he keeps in contact with friends “still over there.”
Besides working at a local nursing home, and “playing basketball—whenever I can,” he’s the proud father of two sons, who attend college, and a daughter, soon to graduate from Clover Park High School, who plans to become a nurse.
“I enjoy nursing,” he says. “It’s a great profession, and a way to get ‘up close and personal’ with people.”
“I’m proud to be an American,” he adds, before continuing his early morning run with Old Glory rippling along beside him.