FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- While thousands of Fort Bragg soldiers are deployed to Europe, one military spouse is using her passion for running to support her deployed husband and the thousands of other Army spouses affected by this deployment by running the Boston Marathon -- raising thousands of dollars for the USO.
For Army spouse and mother of three Mary Vaughn, running has been an important tool in dealing with the stress of military life.
"It's been most useful during deployment, having something to work toward every single day and look forward to while John has been deployed," Vaughn said. "Without it, I would be very stressed."
Her husband, Capt. John Vaughn, is among the thousands deployed to Poland in February to provide support for Ukraine.
Vaughn used her husband's deployment as motivation to train for a mission all her own, running the Boston Marathon to raise money for the USO.
"Being strong for my kids and keeping things moving in the absence of our spouse, for me, it was a big undertaking this deployment, and to be honest, I'm really proud of what I have done this deployment," she said.
Along with her fellow teammates, Vaughn has helped raise more than $100,000 that goes to helping military families just like hers during deployment.
"The money being raised by Mary's run is going to programs, whether it be a Warrior reset or family reset," said Brian Knight, Operations and Programs Manager for the Sandhills USO. "These are resiliency programs that are meant to help connect or reconnect families while they have things going on in their life and everyone is going through different points in their lives."
Vaughn knows that every step she takes on her 26.2-mile journey is more than an athletic accomplishment but something bigger than herself.
"I could have just hung out and waited and counted the days but knowing that what I'm doing is helping out other troops and military spouses is so much bigger, and I am really proud of what I have done," she said.
Vaughn heads to Boston next week to prepare for the big race, which takes place on April 18.