13-mile battle with a tire helps raise money for veterans

In a monumental effort for his dad, Petty Officer Michael McCastle completed 13 miles flipping a 250-pound tire in cold and wet weather Saturday.

Though McCastle lost his father the day before the event, he said his spirit bolstered his efforts.

“I felt like he was there with me,” McCastle said. “I was where he needed me to be, and I drew strength from that.”

While raising awareness for Wounded Warrior Project was his primary objective, McCastle raised more than $700. He said he plans to leave the website active until Jan. 1 to allow for additional donations. Funds raised will be donated to WWP in honor of Alvin Decker, a veteran who lost his battle with personal demons, according to McCastle.

“It wasn’t about the monetary donations,” McCastle. “I like people just to know about WWP and their mission.”

McCastle said during the course of the fundraising challenge he got “banged up pretty good, but it’s nothing that won’t heal.”

He flipped the tire 137 spans of a 500-foot paved street starting at around 4 a.m. and finishing around 2 p.m.

His forearm muscles are torn up, he said, along with his hips and back, and even though he wore gloves he broke some fingernails almost completely off trying to grip the tire.

McCastle was hospitalized after a July attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most pullups completed in a 24-hour period. He completed 3,202 pullups, 828 short of the standing record, but raised more than $10,000 for WWP.

McCastle’s girlfriend, Norma-Jean Hunter, was on hand to lend support and to keep track of his progress.

Hunter, a personal trainer, said it was hard to see McCastle in pain but that “pain is only temporary.”

“I’m so proud of him,” Hunter said. “I know what it means to him.”

Sarah Gallella, a veteran herself, brought her young sons who hugged and high-fived McCastle when he finished a lap.

“As a mother, I am always looking for interesting, positive things to introduce my boys to,” Gallella said. “I was impressed that Mike was using such a unique way to bring awareness to Wounded Warrior Project. He was a great role model on how to set a goal, experience a personal setback with his father passing, and still persevere using Navy values, honor, courage and commitment, all with a smile on his face.”

“I was really impressed that he could lift the tire,” said Edward, 10. “My brother and I together could barely lift the tire.”

McCastle is already looking toward his next challenge, a rope climb to raise money for Parkinson’s disease research in the spring. Among other health problems, McCastle’s father suffered with Parkinson’s, so the cause hits close to home.

“I think I’ll be ready to start training in a couple of weeks,” he said.

McCastle said around 15 people showed up to the event throughout the day and even more honked as they drove by to show support.

“I feel thankful, humble and blessed by everyone who supported me,” he said.

McCastle’s fundraising page can be found at tinyurl.com/mccastleww

Janis Reid: jreid@whidbeynewsgroup.com; 360-675-6611

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