Meet Lindsay Hartig
My name is Lindsay and I am an Army Veteran. I have served my country overseas in a combat zone as many have before me and I am thankful for the opportunities I have been afforded during my service.
I entered military service at the United States Military Academy Prep School at Fort Monmouth, NJ in 2001; I ran Track & Cross Country there, and then for the first three years at West Point. My senior year I faced multiple injuries and left the team to focus on staying healthy for my active service in the United States Army.
I commissioned as a Military Intelligence Officer in 2006, and attended a year of officer and military intelligence training, which helped me transition from cadet to officer but I don’t think I learned how to really do my job until I deployed to Iraq in October of 2007. Over there, I believe I reached the pinnacle of my military career, as I was challenged daily to live by example for myself and for the Soldiers in my unit. My deployment, like those of other Soldiers, was not perfect, but I survived and came home to reunite with my husband, Ben, at Fort Stewart, GA two days before Christmas 2008.
I have never felt more pride in my Army service than when I served overseas. Within a year of redeployment, I found out I was pregnant with our beautiful daughter Alison, and in July of 2010 she was born at Fort Polk, LA. While Ben deployed to Afghanistan in late 2010, I finished my obligation as our Brigade’s Rear Detachment Executive Officer and ultimately resigned from active duty to stay home with our daughter.
When a service member leaves the military, there is a void in that person’s life, regardless of the reasons for which he or she got out. I initially struggled with my choice, but kept reminding myself that it was best for the Hartigs. I tried travelling to get away from Louisiana and tried spending time with family, but never felt completely at peace with leaving the Army… no matter how much I prayed about it!
Soon after, I decided to pursue a career as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor. I have always loved physical fitness, and after motivating myself to lose “the baby weight” after Ali’s birth, I knew I could help others towards their fitness goals. Through my personal training, I found I had a great passion for motivating people to adapt to fitness as a way of life, and I absolutely loved the one on one relationship I developed with people!
Shortly after I started training, I ran in the Freedom 5k race in March 2012 in Alexandria, LA, with a friend who had recently transitioned out of the military. I didn’t know it when she invited me, but the race was targeted to say “Thank You” to Veterans and was full of amazing people, one of which was the Louisiana State Chapter Captain of Team RWB, Army Major Jonathan Silk; he was bright and energetic and after initially exchanging only three words with me ran off to his car to grab me a Team RWB T-shirt! That morning, I watched Jon, a combat wounded veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan carry the colors during the race, and I witnessed concerned citizens who had no ties to the military join in and fall in behind more inspired veterans like Jon. I would be silly to say that I was not hooked on Team RWB from then on!
After that morning, I was quickly reminded of what qualities I missed most about the Army; the sense of being a member of a team and of selfless service, both of which I carry on while I play a part in Team RWB Louisiana. This group was so fast to welcome me in and then inspired me to better myself by competing in and completing my first triathlon! I had found that family again, and it has been so extremely motivating for me! When Jon moved away in May 2012 with the Army to his current duty station, at West Point, I felt compelled to honor my fellow veteran’s service and the Team’s tradition and carry the colors at races all over Louisiana this year.
In June, I took the position of Louisiana state chapter captain when asked to help. My passion since has been focused on getting veterans active in physical fitness, which I do on the job and off. Over the past several months, I have spoken about and spread the word on Team RWB at several conventions and expos across the state, including the VA Wellness and Recovery conference.
I also strive to inspire American citizens to help veterans like me when they come home from war or when they leave the service. I am helping lead the Fort Polk and Alexandria Chapters to actively pursue local business sponsors to donate to the cause and fund-raise for fitness events that will bring veterans together, like the 2012 Lake Kincaid Adventure Race, the 2013 Mumbo Gumbo 5k, and currently, next year’s Freedom 5k in association with the Central Louisiana Veterans’ Affairs Hospital, the past host. In 2013, I will serve as race director for this 550-person race, and although I don’t believe it to be an endeavor of any particularly great magnitude, it is one that I take on seriously because I know my volunteer time will help Veterans like me who are searching for something after the military; something that gives them inspiration, pride, and allows them to serve more than themselves.
Nowadays when I race, I think of my friends like Jon Silk who can’t compete like he used to because of the injuries he sustained in combat, or those who will never get a chance, like my great friend and classmate First Lieutenant Tim Cunningham, because the war took him away too young. I don’t run for Lindsay Hartig much anymore, because when I wear the eagle, I think about so many greater things than myself. I take pride in my service, but more so in our country and its military, and aim to reach others with this mission. IT’S finally OUR TURN and I am ready… Are you?