Norwalk mother honors troops lost in battle

NORWALK - A walk-run event Sunday in Norwalk honoring fallen troops drew supporters from across southwestern Connecticut.

The tribute, called ?A Mile in Their Shoes,? has special meaning for Debi Qualtieri. She lost her son, 25-year-old Sgt. Jonathan Lootens, in 2006 during the Iraq war.

?It becomes more personal, it's not just a figure, it's not just a number,? says Qualtieri. ?It becomes a personal thing."

Her goal was for people to take the time to walk or run one mile and think about those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Qualtieri saved her son?s beret, medals and the flag that draped his casket.

?I wanted them to see his medals because those are things he wore,? says Qualtieri about the inspiration she provided to those who participated in the event.

The one mile walk-run coincided with the final day of "Run for the Fallen," a national relay that went from California to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia to honor fallen troops.

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