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Running for a cause

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JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- As members of the Air Force Reserve, Airmen are often asked, “how do you find time to balance your work-life, fitness requirements, volunteer efforts, and still have fun?” The task is not easy, but for a captain with the 756th Air Refueling Squadron, he’s found a way to make it all one and the same.

Captain Jason Burrows, a pilot with the 756th ARS, decided to take his love of running and combine it with his desire to help others by raising money for a local non-profit organization that hosts the Pilot for a Day program.

“We get so caught up in everything going on in the world and our personal lives that we forget there are sick children right here in our community that need our help,” said Burrows. “We have the ability to make a difference in that child’s life as well as their family’s.”

Burrows has run just 10 marathons during his lifetime but is planning on completing six more this year to raise money through donations from friends and family.

 “I am hoping that my friends and fellow Airmen will be inspired to help and join the cause,” said Burrows. “The money the organization is raising for these events is huge in the way it positively impacts these children and their family’s lives.”

Twice a year, a terminally-ill child is selected by the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and is invited to become a “pilot” for a day. Each child is treated as an honorary pilot and experiences a day filled with activities revolving around their dreams and interests in aviation.

“These kids are going through an unimaginable situation,” said Burrows. “This program allows them to forget about all the stress and pain and just have fun.”

The families and honorary pilot for a day are given a tour of numerous base facilities during their visit including the flightline, the flight safety simulator and a display of the KC-135R Stratotanker. They are also given various gifts and monetary donations to help offset expenses accrued as a result of the child’s battle with their illness.

“What Jason is doing is great exposure and a huge help for the programs and the non-profit,” said Lt. Col. Rob Balzano, 113th Wing pilot and Joint Base Andrews Pilot for a Day coordinator. “He’s been absolutely amazing in his role and in his support overall for the community. The passion he’s shown for this program has been amazing and I’m excited to see what kind of impact it has on the people around him this year,” said Balzano.

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