Sasha Bradford’s life has taken many unexpected turns. In 2013, her husband Michael was killed in Afghanistan. Sasha found out about his death when she was seven months pregnant. Today, she fights to keep her late husband’s legacy alive while raising their toddler son. One way Sasha honors Michael and other veterans like him is by participating in the DAV 5K.
“Our veterans have given more than we can ever imagine,” Sasha says. “If I can give back in a way as simple as running for them, I will.” Sasha believes the DAV 5K is important because it supports men and women who give all of themselves so that everyone else can be safe and free. “They have spent time away from their families,” Sasha says of veterans.
“They have held the hand of their best friend dying in the field. They have given pieces of their heart, mind, and body to protect us.” “We have the ability to make a difference,” Sasha says. “Why would you not for someone who has given up so much for us?”
She also participates in the event because Michael loved to run, and she wants to pay tribute to his memory. On a spring afternoon in 2013, a county sheriff and a pastor knocked on Sasha’s door. Sasha clutched her pregnant stomach with fear. She knew what they were going to say.
“They gave me the hardest news they would have to give anyone,” she says. “They told a 24-year-old, seven-and-a-half month pregnant girl that her husband was killed in Afghanistan.” Michael died five weeks before he was supposed to come home for the birth of his son. He was killed by a suicide bomber less than 50 yards from his base.
Sasha remembers her husband as a caring man with an open heart. He had a “contagious laugh” and liked to golf and grill with his buddies, she says. When he wasn’t learning a new language, Michael took care of their dog, ESPN, named for his obsession with sports. Michael joined the Army soon after graduating from high school and served in Korea and Iraq. Later, he worked as a contractor in Afghanistan for the Marine and Army Special Forces as well as the Afghan Special Forces.
Sasha says she will never stop missing her late husband, but she will always be proud of what the young veteran accomplished in his short time on earth.