As I stated in my last blog, I am running the Baltimore Marathon through my home town for two people, 10 year old Alex Rach, who is in a marathon battle against cancer, and for one of our 22 Too Many heroes, Sgt Deana Orellana, who served honourably in the United States Marine Corps.
When I give my list of races to the organisers at 22 Too Many, they try to match the race with an ‘appropriate’ hero from their list. Sometimes ‘appropriate’ is because that person was born or has their angel-versary around the race date; other times it is because they are from or have ties to that area. In SGT Orellana’s case, her sister Robin lives near Baltimore, so this was a perfect fit. We had an online conversation one evening, where she shared more about her sister. It’s very obvious that Deana was so loved and is very much missed. Robin is proud of Deana’s service and all that she did for those she helped as part of the Female Engagement Teams. She was a Steelers fan (which means for one run only, I will put aside my Ravens hat), and I know that my yellow flower of joy will in part be a nod to her favourite team. Robin expressed to me how grateful she is for someone running in her sister’s memory; I hope that I do them both proud as I battle a surprisingly hilly course in the city of Baltimore.
SGT Deana Orellana (Martorella) USMC
09/18/87 – 03/04/16
Shared by her sister, Robin: “We lost Deana to a PTSD-related suicide on March 4, 2016. We didn’t even know about her diagnosis. My sister was one of the funniest and strongest women I ever knew. From a very young age, she always excelled at athletics. Her success in soccer came from her love of the game, hard work, and perseverance. Deana never failed at anything she put her mind to.
She was a fun-loving and caring daughter, aunt, sister, and friend. She was an amazing scholar. She was an outstanding Marine and had recently found her calling to share her love of health and fitness with others.
Deana was so brave. She served on one of the first Female Engagement Teams (FET) in OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan). She never shared what she saw and went through over there. She only said it forever changed her.
Although Deana’s passing is tragic, my family is trying to raise PTSD and suicide awareness by sharing her story and keeping her memory alive.”
Resting Place: Sacred Heart Cemetery, Monongahela, PA
Deana’s home state is Pennsylvania and her last residence was North Carolina
I found this article from 2010, and was amazed to see that Deana had at one point wanted to work with dolphins, majoring in marine biology in college. I also have a passion for marine biology, and have worked with dolphins at my job with Dolphin Quest Bermuda. I think that Deana and I will have a great run together, with so many things to talk about.