Labor Day weekend is one of my favorite three-day holidays. As a kid, it would mark the start to the school year. It was a nice, much needed break from everything before the Thanksgiving and Christmas season fell upon us.

But I like it mostly because some years it would fall on my dad’s birthday. It was like the country had a holiday just for him.

He died in March; the phone call from mom is still fresh in my mind. This will be my first Labor Day without him.

So to honor him, I’m going to challenge myself. I hope you join me.

My dad was a firm believer in working hard and using your talents. One of my talents is doing athletic stuff. I like running, Endurance training (thinking getting ready for a Obstacle Course Race), throwing baseballs, Nerf dart battles … wait is that a sport?

I love the Eagle Nation podcast. This one really helped me figure out how to honor my dad.

I listened to an Eagle Nation podcast during a recent workout.  They interviewed Brian Stann, a veteran and mixed martial arts fighter. He lost several friends while serving overseas.

When talking about their deaths, he said some soldiers, when they reflect on those who died, ask themselves why they lived while their friend passed away. They become depressed and angry.

But that’s not how to best honor that friend who sacrificed his life, Stann said. He/she would give anything to hold his/her family again and do things that make them happy. So veterans (or in my case people in general) can best honor those who are gone by being happy and finding ways to be successful. Basically, give those looking down on you something to be proud of.

What he said struck a chord with me. I admit, I was sort of in a haze for a while after he died. I’m better now, but every once in a while, my family does something and I think, “I wish dad was here to watch this.”

He is here in spirit. I see him in the eyes of my kids as they learn about how things work. I can hear him cheer me on when I finish a tough workout.

So I came up with his challenge. Six miles for Dady for his 60th birthday. 

The challenge is to do six or more miles between now (Sept. 1) and Sept. 5 (his birthday and use Charity Miles to track them.

A glimpse at the many kinds of charities you can donate to while using Charity Miles.

The app is a great way to raise money for charity. Every mile you walk or run equals a 25 cent donation by Charity Miles, while you get 10 cents for each biking mile. There are no fees and you can choose from a variety of charities.

Here are some of that you can donate to using Charity Miles that my dad would support.

  • National Park Foundation — We camped a lot until his health prevented him from doing so.
  • Habitat for Humanity — He often went on mission trips to help low-income families in rural areas of North Carolina, often helping fix people’s houses.
  • American Diabetes Association — Dad had diabetes.
  • Team Red White & Blue and the Wounded Warrior Project — He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force Reserves.

If you decided to join in the “party” and help me honor my dad, please use the hashtag, milesforKevin, if you post a picture in Facebook and Instagram so I can share it Mountain Mama accounts on both sites. I will do a challenge recap as well, adding picture of those who submit something.

Have a happy September. Enjoy your Labor Day holiday and get in those miles.