The Johnny Strong Charity Ride for Child’s Play
In 2007, Johnny Strong was serving as a mortarman with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. We was assigned to Mobile Assault Company, Mobile Assault Platoon 2, Bravo Squad. He was quiet for a marine, but a hard worker and possibly the best humvee driver I have ever seen. During what was our second tour to Iraq, we started to discuss what we wanted to do once we got out of the Marine Corps.
Johnny wanted to join the video game industry and learn how to create video games. He was an avid gamer. He was never far from a piece of electronic entertainment and would rent out his games and movies while we spent time back at base. This earned him the nickname “Best Buy.” Tragically, his dream to join the video gaming industry would not come to pass.
On June 12th, 2007, Johnny Strong made the ultimate sacrifice. While conducting a security patrol in Al Anbar Province, Johnny was shot and killed by an enemy sniper. He had been one of the first to volunteer to do an extra security sweep around the perimeter of the platoon’s temporary forward operating base. He had just turned twenty-one two weeks prior.
My name is Jay Knight and I served with Johnny. He was apart of my team; my brother and my friend. I want to help his memory live on in a way that exemplifies his aspirations and caring heart. I will do this by raising money for Child’s Play Charity in his honor.
Child’s Play was created in 2003 by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, the creators of a video game themed webcomic, Penny Arcade. The mission of Child’s Play is to improve the lives of children with toys and games being treated in over 70 hospitals worldwide. As of 2012 they have raised $17,596,670.
Holkins and Krahulik have also created one of the largest gaming festivals and conventions in North America. Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX (now PAX Prime), has been held in Seattle since 2004. A second yearly convention, PAX East, has been held in Boston since 2010. 2013 will be the first year they also host a PAX in Melbourne, Australia. In 2011, PAX Prime had over 70,000 attendees.
To raise money for Child’s Play I will be riding a bicycle from PAX East to PAX Prime. PAX East usually begins near the first week of April and PAX Prime around the first week of September. Dates will be finalized when the PAX organizers officially release them. The route is approximately 4,400 miles and was planned allowing visits to many hospitals that are recipients of Child’s Play donations. I will have approximately 145 days to complete the ride.
To honor Lance Corporal Johnny Strong.
To raise awareness and funds for Child’s Play Charity
To showcase how Children’s Hospitals across the country take care of children and how they use donations from Child’s Play.
To inspire veterans to honor their fallen friends and to seek guidance and help in dealing with their grief and loss.
Here’s the route PDF: PAX2PAXRoute