For over a decade, I have chosen to celebrate my birthday with an event that shows gratitude and allows my body to do what I love. Almost all of them have been to benefit others, from 5Ks to an Ironman. A little over two years ago, I heard my brother’s story about the loss of his friend and fellow Marine, Jodi. I decided to enter the Marine Corps Marathon and raise money in her honor, for the non-profit she volunteered for in California called San Diego Refugee Tutoring (SDRT). After a COVID delay, my efforts begin.
My brother Dan tells her story…
Jodi was the best of us—the absolute best of what a person, Marine, leader, friend should be. It is hard to describe her grandeur without sounding cliché. She wasn’t some kind of TV superhero or caricature of a strong woman in tights and a ridiculous pose. She was an actual superhero in a baggy, dirty flight suit, messy hair, and a flak jacket. She was a Division One athlete, Marine Corps Aviator, Squadron Tactical Flight Instructor (think Top Gun graduate), Combat Veteran, World Traveler, Mountain Climber, Volunteer, and Graduate Student.Dan Feliciano
People like Jodi are so very hard to describe because every word invokes its own very vivid loving memory of her. You can’t stop thinking about the time she covered for you on duty and asked for nothing in return, the time she was the lone voice of defense when you were in trouble, the time she demanded you come have dinner with her crew because she was in the same town as you, or the time she dropped you an email at just the right moment when you could use an email from a friend.
Her superpowers were fierce kindness, thoughtfulness, and timing. She used them for the good of the people around her, not just her friends but, like a real superhero, for anyone who needed it.
I could write a book about Jodi, and someone should. But I tried to sum up her excellence in this story I wrote to help me come to terms with her death. It does not come close to reflecting even a shimmer of who she was and what she meant to those of us lucky enough to have had her in our lives. But it’s her, for sure it is her.
I never met Jodi, but I feel for her family and those who loved her anytime I read these words.
On October 31st, I will don a backpack and “ruck” march the Marine Corps Marathon. I am going to put myself through this punishing ordeal to honor Jodi, her family, and all of those who have lost a service man or woman from their lives.
In Jodi’s memory, I am going to try to raise $5,000 for a non-profit organization based in San Diego, California, that was near to her heart: San Diego Refugee Tutoring (SDRT). SDRT provides holistic academic support through one-on-one tutoring and enrichment activities to students of refugee background in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego. All donated funds will support the organization’s Jodi Maroney Memorial Fund which is specifically designated for enrichment opportunities for Kindergarten through 12th-grade students and higher education scholarships for 12th-graders and college students.
You can donate to my fundraiser using the form below. Please consider supporting SDRT in Jodi’s name.
Thank you in advance for your support. – Gina Feliciano
Thank you for helping us honor and remember Jodi’s life.
To date the For Jodi Fundraiser has raised
In her name and honor.
SD Refugee Tutoring is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (tax ID no. 82-1998118). All donations are tax-deductible. Tax deductible receipts will be delivered via email, and you can also login to our site to access your donation history at any time. If you wish to mail a check, you may make it out to “San Diego Refugee Tutoring” and write “For Jodi” in the memo line. Mail your check to PO Box 153773, San Diego, CA 92195.
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