SAN ANTONIO — A Navy veteran is hitting the pavement in honor of Vanessa Guillen, the Army soldier who was murdered. She shares how her 76 mile challenge is for a bigger purpose.
Tina Casanova is currently training to undertake a 76 mile run from Fort Sam Houston to the Capitol in Austin. The aspects of her run represent key numbers and locations related to the disappearance of Fort Hood Pfc. Vanessa Guillen.
The Army soldier was reported missing April 22nd and her remains were found June 30th. Authorities say Guillen reported that she was sexually harassed by her superiors before she disappeared. A fellow soldier is responsible for her death. Casanova says she plans to run on the anniversary of Guillen’s disappearance.
“It took about 76 days for them to search and locate her remains. So that’s where I came up with my mileage. I’m starting from Fort Sam where my enlistment began. Then, I’ll be running to the Capitol where changes can happen for laws,” she explained.
Casanova served as an E5 petty officer second class in the Navy from 2004-2009. When she came home from her first deployment, she shared how one of her shipmates assaulted her.
“One of the people I believed, your ride or die, your brother in arms, family away from family, and it happened to me. I thought I was going to rationalize my way out of it, I thought I could reason. I thought I could fight,” said Casanova.
She shared how Guillen’s story brought forth memories from her past and she wanted to take action with the honor run. She shared how running helped her regain her sense of self.
“I was able to decide when, where, how long, how far, when I would stop. That was really the only sense of control I had anymore,” she said. “She gave me everything I needed. She gave me my start date. She gave me the exact miles.”
Casanova said she hopes her story will encourage other service members to report their experiences.
“It’s bigger than the miles. It’s change. It’s getting the conversation going and continuing it,” she said.
Her friends and family plan to be beside her during her run to ensure her safety.