By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.
September 26, 2021
Long Branch – On a beautiful Sunday morning nearly 30 people stood on Westwood Ave in front of the Historic High School and waited with tears in their eyes for members of the United States Armed Forces to meet.
Click on photos for caption
Just after noon a group of nine runners stopped at mile marker 437 in front of the school, and made a special presentation to the parents of Specialist First Class Michael J. Goski and Staff Sergeant Christopher R. Goski. The twins, who grew up in Westfield, were both active service members who lost their lives defending the interest of America.
Christopher joined the Marines on November 5, 2001. He served six tours of duty and was training for his seventh deployment at the time of his death, June 10, 2012. He was 31 years of age. He was the recipient of two Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medals, three Combat Action Ribbons, and three Good Conduct Medals. “He said that his life was dedicated to the Marines and loved serving his country,” said Kathy Goski, his Gold Star mom.
Their mom talked about when Michael had asked his brother which branch of the service to join, as Chris was already a Marine. “Chris told Mike, ‘if you want to be underpaid and do the work of two men become a Marine. If you want to make a little more money and still do the work of two men but get a chance to attend specialized schools go into the Army,”’ Kathy said.
Michael joined the Army and was a member of the Green Beret Special Forces Unit. He had five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He passed away on July 4, 2016. His commendations include two Campaign Stars, Parachutist Badge, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Special Forces Tab, Army Communication Medal (3-times), Army Service Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Air Assault Badge, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, NATO Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon (3-times) and a thee time Army Good Conduct Medal.
Kathy and her husband Timothy who live in Texas were in Long Branch for the 13th Annual NJ Run for the Fallen. The run is organized by active military members who have a simple mission; to remember the lives of those from New Jersey who have given their life while on active duty service. According to organizers 16,408 sons and daughters of our state have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The run started at 7:45 on Thursday, September 23, in Cape May. On Friday the runners started at 7:00 a.m. in Somers Point. Day three started at 7:15 a.m. in Manahawkin. The fourth and final day started at 6:00 a.m. in Brick and is expected to finish at the Gold Star Family Monument at PNC Center in Holmdel.
During the 195 miles covered in four days, runners stopped at every mile to remember a fallen service member from the Garden State. On the final day the course had the runners passing through Asbury Park, Interlaken, Deal, Oakhurst, Long Branch, West Long Branch, and Oceanport on their way to PNC.
Here is the link to the 2021 Hero Markers for the Run of the Fallen: https://www.njrunforthefallen.org/hero-markers.html