Saturday, March 8, 2014
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John Mixon, founder of the Run for the Fallen Maine race, at his home in Ogunquit last week.
John Patriquin / Staff Photographer
In this Aug. 19, 2012 file photo, Carlos Arredondo of Boston waves a flag and holds the boots of his fallen son, Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo, 20, at the start of the Run for the Fallen in Ogunquit. Alexander died while serving in the Marine Corps in Iraq in 2004.
Gordon Lewis of Ogunquit, a board member with Run for the Fallen who knows Mixon and Winn well, said the rumors and the lawsuit were hurtful in a town where "everyone knows everything that's going on."
"I've had friends of mine in town who said they couldn't donate anymore because of their concerns the funds weren't being used properly," Lewis said. "That places a cloud over all the wonderful volunteers you recruit to put on an event this size. We had to rise above that and focus on our mission to honor families and the names of our fallen heroes."
Lewis said some of the families were angry when they heard the rumors.
"People were angered by it all and disappointed this was said," Lewis said. "Some felt it was unpatriotic."
Lorna Harris of Patten attends the Run for the Fallen each year in honor of her son, Spc. Dustin Harris, a member of the Army's 172nd Brigade Support Battalion who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq on April 6, 2006.
She heard a little bit about the lawsuit but wasn't concerned that the rumors were true. She was more upset by the idea that last year's race was supposed to be the last.
"We knew the type of person John is. He's willing to do so much for fallen soldiers and their families," she said.
Mixon said he has decided to keep the event going because families of fallen service members "are still suffering" and it's important for the organization to keep helping them, often with donations for services they cannot otherwise afford, he said.
"I get back 10 times what I give," he said. "It's overwhelming when I think about it."
Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at: