Deployed Marine Stays Involved in Family Fundraising
(July 10, 2011)
Capt. Elizabeth Hagner, shown here June, 28, 2011, is the
officer in charge of the Female Engagement Team, Regional Command
Southwest in Helmand province, Afghanistan. She volunteers her time
to participate in the Relay for Life with her family every spring.
This year, Hagner, of Freeland, Md., was deployed during her
hometowns Relay for Life event. Hagner took it upon herself to help
raise money for the cause, which donates funds to fight and research
cancer, and to use video chat with her family over the computer
during the event, June 17, 2011.
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (MCN - July 2, 2011) – After losing
three family members to cancer, Marine Corps Capt. Elizabeth Hagner
last year decided enough was enough. She committed to taking an
active role in helping cancer research.
The Freeland, Md.,
native talked to her friends and family and decided the most
effective way for them to all get involved in not only remembering
their passed loved ones, but also helping to find a cure for cancer,
was through Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society's signature
annual fundraising event in which volunteers raise money based on
the miles they walked.
“It's a great way to get the family
together for a good cause,” Hagner said. “It's an [exercise] event,
it raises money for an excellent cause and we're helping to promote
The Hagner family got together in 2010 and raised
over $700 for Relay for Life. Hagner, who then was based at Marine
Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., as one of fewer than a dozen
female Cobra helicopter pilots in the Marine Corps, did as much as
she could to help her family in Maryland raise money. When time
came for the event itself, Hagner took leave to participate.
“It's kind of like a memorial for my family members who have
died,” she said. “Instead of just talking about it, we did
something about it.”|
This year, Hagner transferred to
II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, and
deployed to Helmand province, Afghanistan. She now works as
the commander of the group's Female Engagement Team,
overseeing a team of nearly 40 servicewomen tasked with
interacting with Afghan women and children to assist in
implementing community development programs.
April, barely a month into her deployment, Hagner suffered
another loss when her uncle died from stomach cancer. He was
the fourth family member she had lost to cancer.
“That was rough,” she said. “I lost my grandma on my dad's
side to breast cancer, my grandma on my mom's side to lung
cancer, my aunt to lung cancer and my uncle to stomach
cancer,” she explained.
After her uncle's passing,
Hagner and her family made it a goal to raise over $1,000
for this year's Relay for Life event at Goucher College in
Baltimore on June 17. There was just one problem: Hagner,
serving in Afghanistan, could not be present.
Hagner's family and friends decided they still were going to
participate, and their team raised $1,700 for cancer
Hagner even found a way to attend, if only
in virtual form, by video chatting with her family over a
computer for a few minutes in between one of their laps. Her
cousins, aunts and uncles took turns hopping in front of the
laptop, excited to catch a glimpse of their deployed Marine.
As they walked, they even showed off a Marine Corps flag and
a Team Hagner poster filled with pictures of her.
just wasn't the same without her, she's the life of the
party,” Hagner's parents, Ron and Elaine, said by e-mail.
“We couldn't be more proud,” said Ron Hagner, a retired
lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard. “She just
keeps doing things like Relay for Life that makes us even
more proud. Liz has always been a thoughtful and caring
person. She always looks for the best in people.”
With Hagner's deployment ending in the early fall, she looks
forward to seeing her family and participating in next
year's Relay for Life.
“Next year, I should be able
to take [vacation] again, so I can actually go participate
with the rest of my family,” she said.
Article and photo by USMC Cpl. Katherine Keleher|
II MEF (FWD)
Marine Corps News
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