About Philco

Philco is also a member of Lions Club International through the Red Lake Falls, MN chapter.  A member of the Knights of Columbus in Red Lake Falls and has helped out with fundraisers to support the Jimmy V Foundation, Relay for Life and Disabled Veterans of America.

Public speaking has also become a venture for Philco.  American Legion Post 22 of Red Lake Falls, MN invited him to speak at Lafayette High School, where he and Corey went to high school.  At the Veteran’s Day program, Legion member John Columbus presented Philco with the American Legion Medal of Americanism along with an American flag.  The speech caught the attention of many students and community members and since then, other speeches have been done for several other schools, Patriot Guard, Rotary clubs, Lions clubs and his first Memorial Day speech in 2010 at Sundahl Church of rural Gary, MN.

The History Behind Philco's Freedom Run

Before Philco’s Freedom Team was established, running was just a minor activity to help keep me in shape.  In January of 2005, my cousin Sara’s husband Caley was killed in a car accident during an ice storm.  That year, my sister Nikki was training for her first full marathon.  Our relatives asked my sister and I if we’d be interested in joining their team they were putting together for a marathon relay they were going to do in memory of Caley.  We both agreed and the training started later on that winter.  After the first marathon relay with my leg of the race only four miles, I got excited about doing another one.  The Fargo Marathon was coming up that my sister was going to be taking part in and she mentioned on the way back from our relay out in Minot, ND that we should get a team in the marathon relay of the first annual event in Fargo.  I agreed to it and we found two teammates: our parents.  Nikki started out the team then just kept going since the full marathon route was the same as the marathon relay.  We had such a good time, we repeated in 2006.  First Minot, ND in April, then Fargo, ND in May.  

After the Fargo Marathon relay, Nikki asked how I was feeling.  I told her really good, so she let me know that the next level would be good for me to try.  I disagreed.  After the third time she made the request that I run the half in 2007, I finally gave in partially and said, “If there’s a good reason to, I will.  I’m not going to run thirteen miles just to say I did it.”

I told many people after my sister’s first full marathon that I would never run a half or full marathon in my life…that she was crazy and I didn’t understand why anyone would do such a thing.

Light running was kept up periodically throughout the summer and fall of 2006.  Things changed when I received a phone call the night of December 2nd that year. 

A friend of mine I had not heard from in a while called to ask me if I had heard “the news”.  The way he said it, I knew it wasn’t good news.  
“Rystad was killed today.”  

He confirmed to me that it was Corey and that he had been killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) while out patrolling.  I didn’t want to believe it and in my mind it wasn’t real for almost two weeks, until the funeral.

After a couple weeks had passed, right around the holiday season, I had made the decision and stated it verbally to the girl who inspired me to run – my sister Nikki.  I told her that was going to train to do something more the following spring.  I made the decision to run the half marathon in Fargo, ND in May of 2007.  I wanted to do something more than just run it, I wanted to honor my friend in a way that will get him the recognition he deserves.

Training for the first half marathon went well.  Come the day of the event, nerves were getting the best of me.  When you go in to a run blind, never having done one of that length before, you start to think.  I thought about my pace, I thought about my energy and how often I needed to stop, but I also got the strength I needed the final three miles.  At mile marker ten I was handed a three by five foot American flag to finish with.  It was an unbelievable feeling to hear the crowds cheer for my friend Corey and the ultimate sacrifice he gave while serving our country: his life.

Later on that year, I decided to run another half marathon, this time the entire distance carrying the flag.  In September of 2007 I entered the Dick Beardsley Half Marathon and finished the race after carrying Old Glory from the start to the finish.  

Since that point, Philco’s Freedom Team was created.  Four full marathons have been accomplished along with several half marathon, 10K and 5K events - over 60 events complete and counting.
In 2009, Philco’s Freedom Team made another decision.  To become aligned with a non-profit organization that is dedicated to serving our war vets after they return from over seas.  Project New Hope (www.projectnewhope.net), started in Minnesota and now expanded into several states and Canada.  It made perfect sense to support such a worthy cause by contribution through sponsorship  and relations to promote their organization at events and online.  Philco's Freedom Team has now been part of contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project as well (www.woundedwarriorproject.org).
Thank you in advance for your continued support of this team in efforts to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice; to honor those who served and are still here to tell about it; and to show respect to those still in uniform courageously serving our country today.