Navy veteran Robbie Cole will return to his hometown of Hopkinton and tackle his first marathon April 17, a venture that will benefit Semper Fi & America’s Fund.
A 2014 graduate of Hopkinton High School, Cole attended Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire and then joined the Navy, serving for four years as an intelligence specialist.
“As a young kid, I’d always felt I had a calling toward the military. I knew from a young age it was something I was going to end up doing. I just was so thankful and proud of my country,” Cole said.
“I think the toughest thing was just being away from friends and family for so long, being away from home,” he shared. “I kind of realized how important my family and friends were to me, and realized I wanted to move back home and be around them.”
Now a resident of South Boston, Cole works in finance at BNY Mellon as a lead analyst and solutions consultant. This will be his first marathon.
“I knew I wanted to run the [Boston] Marathon, from growing up, watching it as a kid, it was always kind of on my bucket list, something I knew I wanted to do one day,” he said.
Seeking a challenge after returning to civilian life, Cole started training and signed up for a half-marathon, which he ran in October 2022. “I did really good at that, and then picked up training for the marathon in December, right after Christmas.”
Choosing to run for Semper Fi & America’s Fund (givengain.com/activist/661107/projects/52269) was “kind of a no-brainer,” said Cole, who wants to give something back to those who have given so much in the name of freedom.
Semper Fi & America’s Fund supports and cares for the nation’s critically wounded, ill or injured service members, veterans and military families in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. It provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support for veterans.
Case managers work one-on-one with service members and veterans to understand and respond to their individual needs with an array of programs, such as transportation assistance, residential accessibility modifications, specialized adaptive equipment, visiting nurses and even a caregiver retreat. The fund’s Integrative Wellness Program offers a holistic approach to long-term health and fosters healing through animal therapy, art and music.
Established in 2003 by military spouses who volunteered to provide bedside support to those injured overseas, the organization strives to keep overhead low to maximize its impact on the lives of those it serves.
The fund’s website echoes the sentiment expressed by Cole when asked what was hardest about being in the military: “We understand and deeply appreciate the bonds of family and service so vital throughout the journey.”