When Moorestown resident and retired firefighter John Scully runs through town with the American flag, he thinks of servicemen and women.
“Our son (now) is in his last year at Army West Point, (so) he’s about to start his military career as an officer, and he’ll graduate this year,” Scully said. “I think a lot about him; I think about all the other cadets. I think about (all) the other service people that are training and serving today and have served.”
Since 9/11, Scully has been running to honor the day’s victims. A few years later, he met a family whose son was tragically killed in Afghanistan and started running in his honor every Memorial Day.
Scully and his family lived in Moorestown from 1997 to 2006. When they moved to Flower Mound, Texas, the mayor there asked Scully if he would start an annual Veterans Day relay run. Although Scully again lives in Moorestown, the run in Texas continues.
After meeting Karen Reiner, co-leader of the citizen’s group Braver Angels Moorestown Alliance, Scully decided to continue the tradition.
“We both just agreed it was time for everybody (here), not just in Moorestown, but everywhere to (just) be a symbol of — let’s just get together,” he explained. “Let’s just get on the same page, let’s (just) get through all the challenges of the pandemic and challenges of the election and just get together.”
On Nov. 11, the alliance sponsored United We Run, an 11-mile jaunt for Scully and residents. He carried the American flag through town. Town council candidates Vick Bobadilla (Republican) and Quinton Law (Democrat) participated to show community unity.
Moorestown resident and Vietnam War Veteran John Call’s wife, Ann, was one of the runners. She planned on running for seven miles with Scully.
“She (was) excited,” he noted. “It was (kind of) a group activity. She has a select group of friends that she runs and walks with, but this was something different for a good cause supporting veterans, so she was excited about it.”
Call had a message for Veterans Day.
“I think that everyone should appreciate the service of (all) the veterans,” he said. “I think that the veterans deserve some credit for the sacrifices they have made over the years.”
Kate Wilson, a Moorestown resident and chair of the Moorestown Democrats, became involved with Braver Angels after connecting with Reiner and participating in an alliance workshop. She was excited to be part of the run and see people come together.
“We won’t necessarily agree on strategy or policy, but we can (all) agree that our town is a better place when we support each other, regardless of our political differences,” she offered.
According to Reiner, the Braver Angels Moorestown Alliance is an organization that facilitates respectful conversation among people across the political divide to find common ground and civility. Membership is open to anyone.
Scully encouraged residents to give thanks for veterans.
“Everybody in their own way has an opportunity to thank a veteran (or) think of a veteran,” he said. “Seeing it through the eyes of my son and seeing how people over the years have shown (their) appreciation for him, it means a lot. It really does.”