Warrior athlete, recipient of Grateful Nation Award

3 Nov 2015 | Ida Irby Marine Corps Base Quantico

“I just do my job, and there’s no quitting,” said Sgt. Amanda Eason, a career planner with the Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Eason was nominated for the Grateful Nation Award by her battalion commander, Col. Todd Oneto. The award is given annually to six veterans from each of the five branches of the U.S. military and the Special Operations Command by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Eason is being recognized for her professional achievements throughout her career. She will be awarded as the 2015 Marine Corps recipient during the JINSA Annual Awards Dinner held November 16 in Washington, D.C.

“Sgt Eason is someone who has given a lot in her service, multiple deployments, time spent away from her family, and she has actually bled for her country,” said Oneto. “She is someone who encapsulates what the Nation envisions of a Marine and what we who wear the uniform expect of a Marine.”

Eason admits that one of her biggest pet peeves is people who quit easily and give up on themselves.

“A lot of people get discouraged when they face difficulty and they give up,” said Eason.

The warrior athlete from Caribou, Maine, joined the Marine Corps in 2008, and was injured in 2010. Eason’s vehicle hit a 150-pound improvised explosive device while conducting a route reconnaissance in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, which resulted in nerve damage and acute vision loss. She was awarded the Purple Heart Medal and Combat Action Ribbon.

“Marines need to feel a sense of worthiness, and we show that their cause to combat the enemy against terrorism is not done in vain,” said Marc Sheppard, administrative officer for the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management Branch, who helped submit the award. “I believe all Marines should be recognized and commended for their sacrifice and commitment in ending terrorism.”

Among other accomplishments, Eason recently completed her fifth marathon.Eason can frequently be seen running on base.

“I went out with her one day,” said Oneto. “We ran about four miles and did some calisthenics and she ran me into the dirt! She is impressively fit.”

Marathons show the resilience and challenging spirit of veterans like Eason, who ran in the 40th Marine Corps Marathon Oct. 25 in Arlington, Va., in support of Team Hope for the Warriors. The nationwide nonprofit from Annandale, Va. works in support of post 9/11 Veterans and their families.

“Running was always fun for me. As a Marine, it is more a self-medication on top of love and passion for the sport,” said Eason. “I strived to compete and show I can do everything that my peers can do. Competition pushes me a lot harder.”

Preparing for her sixth marathon is an added achievement to overcoming all odds while recovering from injuries sustained while deployed. She will travel to compete in the TCS New York City Marathon Oct. 31 with Team Hope for the Warriors.

“Running helps me to relax. It’s my therapy, but most importantly I know that I’m running for something bigger than myself,” said Eason, who affirmed that running in support of other veterans gave her purpose. “I will continue to support this organization that gave so much to me.”

Team Hope for Warriors assists veterans in registration for races. The program also provides resources for adaptive sports equipment for wounded warriors such as hand cycles, kayaks, and anything that can help athletes get active again. The nonprofit also hosts a The Run for the Warriors competitive marathon series each year.

From traumatic physical injuries to non-visible wounds, Hope for Warriors uses the platform to give back to veterans like Eason, who has completed four marathons and two half marathons with the organization.