Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Veteran’s Day Extra Special to Big Dog

Veteran's on hand for the Vet Day 5K run/walk in Hilo

Last year my wife, Randee, asked me how I wanted to spend my birthday.  “Should we take a trip, spend an evening at a five star hotel or go on a cruise?” she asked.

After thinking long and hard about what really makes me happy and a birthday occasion special, I replied, I’d like to put on a Veteran’s Day run/walk and have all the participants bring something for the Hawaii Food Basket.

Veteran’s Day is a special day to me not only because I’m a Vietnam Vet, but because Nov. 11 happens to fall on my birthday.

Last year more than 100 people showed up to pay tribute to the men and women who have made sacrifices to keep this country free. This year nearly 200 people participated in the run/walk and another 25 plus people came out to volunteer.

“This is a great event,” State House Representative, Jerry Chang said.  “We are here to honor those that served our country and to contribute to our Hawaii Island Food Basket.”

Dr. Joseph D’Angelo

Chang, a veteran himself, gave the opening remarks prior to the start of the race and was followed by Dr. Joseph D’Angelo, who returned last year from a tour of duty in the Middle East.

“Last year I spoke of running in an environment of freedom and not from mortar fire,” D’Angelo said.  “This year I speak about gratitude and the importance of continued family support.”

D’Angelo pointed out the appreciation the troops have of receiving care packages from home. He also spoke of the love for the soldiers when they are gone and upon their return.

“I extend my gratitude to all who support our men and women in uniform as well as supporting the families who remain back home.”

At the start of the 5K run a pair of University of Hawaii at Hilo cross country runners, Zach Johnson and Keoni Ucker, zoomed into the lead followed by Jason Braswell of the Big Island Running Company in Kona.

“I went out fast and tried to keep up with Zach (Johnson) during the first mile,” Ucker said.  “Once I took the lead I separated myself from everyone else as I pushed hard and was never seriously challenged.”

Ucker won in a time of 16 minutes 6 seconds, with Braswell trying to play catch up.

“My Dad is a vet and I wanted to honor him by being here today,” Ucker said.  “In fact both my parents came out to watch me run and this was a way to say thank you to my Dad.”

For Kona’s Jason Braswell and wife Melissa running the race was a good opportunity to be with likeminded people who share a common interest.

“We wanted to be part of this great event and show our support for our Veteran’s,” Braswell said.

Braswell was in the pack with Ucker and Johnson during the first mile and tried to catch Ucker once he separated.

“I was trying to stay with him (Ucker) but wasn’t making much headway,” he said.

Braswell also enjoyed the Hilo weather saying that it was a lot easier to run.

“The weather conditions here were perfect, with no wind, which made for great racing conditions,” Braswell said of his second place finish in 16:36.

Johnson hung onto third, 16:56; and was followed by Justin Pang, 17:20; and Chris Evans, 17:28.

For the women it was another pair of UHH harriers that pulled away from the rest of the ladies field.  Vulcan Kaylene Peric, 19:35; beat out teammate Krista Andrew, 20:01; and was followed by Robyn DeBenedet, 20:07; Melissa Braswell, 21:25; and Lory Hunter, 21:38.

“I wanted to see how well I could do today and to compare today’s time with my time when I last ran this course in August,” Peric said.

Peric finished almost a full minute ahead of her previous time and was pleased with her efforts.

“I’m especially pleased to be a part of this race that honored our Vets and to be able to donate something to the food drive,” she said.

Nine members of the Coast Guard Kiska

Nine members of the Coast Guard Cutter, Kiska, anchored in Hilo were on hand to run the 3.1 mile course.

“We are active duty service members and we have just returned from one year in Iraqi waters,” Lt. Commanding Officer Craig Dente said.  “We wanted to be part of this event that recognizes our military veterans.”

Following the run/walk participants were treated to a bananas, papayas and cookies supplied by Jerry Chang and his group of volunteers.

Hunter Bishop

Hunter Bishop from Mayor Billy Kenoi’s office read a message from the mayor which spoke of our observation of Veterans Day to honor the unselfish dedication of those who have honorably served the cause of freedom in our nation’s armed forces.

“Your ability to compete in this wonderful event is made possible by the sacrifices of those countless veterans whom we honor,” the mayor wrote.  “We recognize and salute the veterans among you, as we also honor our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and mothers and fathers, who continue to serve and protect our nation throughout the world today.”

Members representing a variety of labor unions were also on hand and included representatives from HGEA, UPW, ILWU, SHOPO, HSTA, the Carpenters Union and others in support of our Veterans.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association, headed by Rae Yamanaka, had the largest member group participating and won a special Big Dog award.

The event raised a total of 356 pounds of food and $293 in cash and checks for the Hawaii Island Food Basket.

Mahalo Hilo for your continued support of our troops.

And someday should you happen to see a proud vet come jogging around the Eastside of Hawaii Island remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

Related Links:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/vet-day-5k-reaps-benefit-for-the-hawaii-island-food-basket/





November 15, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dr. D’Angelo Returns to Hilo Practice After 2nd Deployment

Dr. D'Angelo

LTC Joseph D'Angelo

Veteran’s Day is rapidly approaching and it’s a time to reflect and give thanks to the brave men and women that have served and are serving in our military.

The first commemoration of Veterans or Armistice Day came on November 11, 1919 when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed that date to remember those that died in our country’s service following World War I.

Today we use the holiday to reflect with solemn pride the heroism of those who died and who serviced our country as we show gratitude for their service.

There are many Veterans living in our community who served their country during periods of war.  Robert Karp served in the Korean War, DJ Blinn was a marine in Vietnam and Dr. Joseph D’Angelo who recently returned from his second combat deployment are just a few of the thousands of Veterans from the Big Island.

Lt. Colonel Joseph D’Angelo, MD, has been in the US Army National Guard since July 2002.  He served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and most recently served in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom, returning to family and practice in Hilo a few weeks ago.

“This is just something I have to do and it’s something I want to do,” D’Angelo said of his deployments.

While in Afghanistan D’Angelo was able to work out on a regular basis to stay in great shape. “The first two months I was at a Forward Operating Base with more amenities and a bigger gym, he said. “The last month was the best time as I was at a small Combat Outpost.  Both of these were in Eastern Afghanistan, a couple of hours north of Jalalabad.”
D’Angelo was located at the “front lines” and his outpost was mortared several times, with night time attacks on the COP several times a week.

“Despite the combat none of our guys were hurt on my watch, except usually by their own doing,” D’Angelo said.  “There were gym accidents, dehydration, as well as viruses, etc.”

On some evenings the attacks came while D’Angelo was in the gym during his workouts which required him to run to his station, and when the all clear was given he returned to the gym.

 “I was much more disciplined with my workout regimen which consisted of an hour ride on a stationary bike,” he said.  “Usually I’d find riding a stationary bike boring, but I read a good book, Last of the Mohicans, and it kept me interested and on the bike longer than my experience had in the past.”

In the larger camp D’Angelo ran the walkway around the helicopter landing zone and learned the hard way about the force of a Black Hawk landing, “I was thrust forward by the force of a Black Hawk into a barely controlled sprint,” he said.

At the smaller camp running was considered too dangerous, given the enemy activity in the area, and D’Angelo was limited to the stationary bike for his aerobic work outs.

For an anaerobic workout D’Angelo focused on his upper body by lifting weights and was very pleased with his progress as he lost some weight and added some muscle tone.

“One thing that helped was working with a very good Air Force Physician’s Assistant who was formerly a personal trainer and had the body of a small, young, Arnold,” D’Angelo said.

From the Physician’s Assistant, D’Angelo learned to do dumb bell curls, dumb bell press, rows, flies and proper sit ups.  “I found that with a single bar bench press it puts too much unnatural stress on the shoulder and rotator cuff and that this is one of the most common injuries,” D’Angelo said.

Dr. D’Angelo staying in shape during deployment

During his last deployment to Iraq D’Angelo began training in Tae Kwon Do and is now a black belt.  “I am hoping to test soon for my 2nd Dan (degree) next year,” he said.  “I also try to do Army Combatives, a combined martial arts form of close hand to hand combat, whenever I can, and prior to deployment, I did Krav Maga, the Israeli martial art.”

 Part of being in the National Guard requires D‘Angelo to participate in general drills once a month and two weeks a year, but his Hilo office remains open providing substitute coverage for him during those periods.

D’Angelo was born in New York and traveled all over the country as his father was employed by the government.  “We moved around a lot so I never really felt that I had a home base or a home town, until I moved to Hilo,” he said.

As a well know pediatrician and pediatric cardiologist in Hilo, D’Angelo has finally found himself a home.  “I’ve lived and practiced here for more than 10 years, which is quite a bit longer than anywhere else that I have ever lived,” he said.

At age 45 D’Angelo is a great role model as he takes good care of his body and promotes health and fitness to his patients.

A proud father of two “wonderful” children, Grace 14 and Vincent 13, D’Angelo enjoys sharing his love for running with them as the three have entered run/walk community events in the past.

Primarily a vegetarian, D’Angelo has added fish to his diet since moving to Hilo.  “I am fundamentally a follower the Tao and consider myself a cross between being Buddhist and Catholic,” he said.

Since returning home D’Angelo has joined Penn’s Fitness gym.  “I decided to keep doing those workouts at home, but I might as well take advantage of all the machines.  Plus they have the punching bags,” he said.

D’Angelo is due for another deployment in about 18 months or around February 2011.

On Wednesday D’Angelo, along with several other veterans, will be on hand to participate in the Veteran’s Day 5K run/walk hosted by Big Dog Productions.

The 3.1-mile run/walk will start at 7:30 am from the entrance to Moku Ola (Coconut Island).  The public is invited to participate and are asked to bring a canned good to be donated to the Hawaii Island Food Basket.

Post event refreshments will be provided and Veterans, including D’Angelo, will be asked to address those in attendance.

November 8, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Profiles | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment