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Father of BLT Marine skates from Pentagon to Ground Zero; raises funds for USO;

2 Jul 2002 | Gunnery Sgt. Mike Dougherty 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit

While Marines and Sailors of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit prepared to embark aboard their respective ships for the Amphibious Ready Group Exercise last month, the father of a Battalion Landing Team Marine embarked on a unique journey of his own.

Tom Buschman, CEO of the Buschman Corporation and father of Lance Cpl. Wes Buschman, an infantryman with Golf Co, 2nd, Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, skated from the Pentagon to New York City to raise money for the United Service Organization World Headquarters.  The younger Buschman  accompanied him the first day of the journey, skating from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore.

"I'm an avid inline skater, and I thought this would be a great way to let people know what an outstanding job the USO is doing for the troops who are serving us in these stressful times," Buschman said. He challenged people to donate funds to the USO, and collected more than $1,500, which the Buschman Corporation matched dollar-for-dollar.

He recently completed a solo inline trip from Cleveland to Toledo, featured in Fitness and Speedskating Times.

"I think often about the sacrifices members of the military make every day for us, and I wanted to give something back. I thought a trip from the Pentagon to Ground Zero would dramatize the fact that there are young American men and women around the world defending us, and I want them to know we're thinking of them," Buschman said.

Buschman believes in the value of the USO to deployed servicemembers "My son's unit is scheduled for deployment later this summer...The USO is their link to home, and I want to help the USO."

The trip took ten days, and followed main routes with sidewalks and appropriate skating surfaces.  The average distance covered was 25-50 miles per day.  "I'm not out to set a land speed record," the fifty-three year old Buschman said. "I want to make people think about the people who protect us."

Buschman Corporation is a Cleveland-based manufacturer providing products worldwide to the paper industry.