Governor Kevin Stitt today announced the members of his relay team for the 2021 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon will honor Oklahoma veterans who served in Afghanistan and Oklahoma Gold Star families.
The governor will be joined by three current Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen and the sister of an Oklahoma Guardsman who was killed in action in 2011.
The currently serving Oklahoma Guardsmen are Capt. Jeff Morefield, Sgt. 1st Class Jedd Flower and Staff Sgt. Christopher Black. Krysten Isenhower, is the sister of Oklahoma Army Guardsman Sgt. Bret D. Isenhower. Sgt. Isenhower lost his life in combat on Sept. 9, 2011. Through her participation, Krysten Isenhower will represent all of Oklahoma’s 49 Gold Star Families who lost a loved one serving in Afghanistan.
“This year’s race is just a few days before the 20th anniversary of the start of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and it is my honor to pay tribute to the Oklahomans who have sacrificed to protect our freedom and way of life,” said Gov. Stitt. “This year, I run to remember the victims and survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing, as well as the 9/11 attacks and the brave men and women of our armed forces.”
The 2021 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon will begin at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 3.
The marathon relay consists of five segments along the marathon course ranging in length from five to 12 kilometers. For the third year, all teams who register will automatically be entered to compete in the Governor’s Relay Challenge. Teams who beat Gov. Stitt’s team will receive an “I Beat the Gov” running shirt that will be mailed to runners after race day.
“We are appreciative of the governor running the relay and challenging others to join,” said Kari Watkins, Executive Director, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. “We are even more thrilled to have the veterans join the race as we take time to thank so many who have helped us fight the war on terrorism.”
The Commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson, says he is very happy to see that the Guardsmen we lost since 9/11 are not being forgotten.
“As we live our lives, it is easy to forget the sacrifices of the men and women of our Armed Forces that have laid down their lives for us,” said Thompson. “I’m very thankful to have a governor that is so supportive of his National Guard and has made a point of remembering all of the Oklahoma Guardsmen we have lost in the past 20 years.”
More information on the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, Run to Remember, can be found here.
Relay Team Member Bios:
Capt. Jeff Morefield:
Capt. Jeff Morefield first deployed to Afghanistan in 2013, where he was a platoon leader for an Oklahoma Army National Guard High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, headquartered at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. During that time, he served in multiple locations and supported operations against the Taliban. Morefield deployed again to Iraq and Kuwait from January to August of 2020.
Before Morefield’s service in Afghanistan he was a police officer at the University of Central Oklahoma and then joined the Edmond Police Department in 2001. After eight years as a police officer, he joined the Oklahoma National Guard in 2009. When he went to basic training at 34 years old he was the oldest Soldier in his platoon. Today, Morefield continues his service to the military at the 45th Field Artillery Brigade in Mustang, Oklahoma, where he serves as a member of the Brigade Commander’s staff and is the current master fitness trainer for the Brigade’s 800 Soldiers.
Sgt. 1st Class Jedd Flower:
Sgt. 1st Class Jedd Flower has served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard for 20 years. His first tour in Afghanistan was in 2004 where he served for nine months as a squad automatic weapon gunner on a personal security detail for senior leaders in the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. In October 2007, Flower was called to active duty for another 12 months. After a three month training period, Flowers spend eight months in Iraq as a squad leader. Flower was active again in 2011 and deployed to Afghanistan for ten months as a supply sergeant.
Flower now works full time for the Oklahoma Army National Guard and spends his time with his wife Melissa and three kids: Colt, Logan, and Laney.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Black:
Staff Sgt. Christopher Black, a native of Victoria, TX, enlisted in the Oklahoma Army National Guard in 2009. He served in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2014 for nine months as a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) crewmember with the 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery Regiment, 45th Field Artillery Brigade. Upon returning from deployment, he cross-trained to become a medic and now serves the Oklahoma Army National Guard full time as the Medical Readiness Non-Commissioned Officer for the 45th Field Artillery Brigade. Black is currently working on his Master of Science in Healthcare Administration at the University of Oklahoma. He and his newlywed wife, Jenny, enjoy spending time with each other and their two dogs, Moose and Kyra, in their home in Oklahoma City.
Krysten Isenhower became a Gold Star sister after the loss of her brother Sgt. Bret Isenhower on Sept. 9, 2011. Sgt. Isenhower was killed when his team was ambushed while on a dismounted patrol. His legacy lives on through his sister, Krysten, and many other loved ones, who continue to honor and remember him. Krysten lives in Oklahoma City and is an elementary school teacher at Cashion Public Schools.