Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Why I Run-Interview with Meredith Highland
This is my interview with Meredith Highland, because of its length and subject matter I will only be posting two this week.She has a really inspiring story.
Meredith Highland is a self-taught cake decorator at the Touché Touchet Bakery and Pastry Shoppe. I sat down with her to find out why she chooses to run this race and what motivates her to continue on. She and I spoke briefly about her dad (pictured to the left, from www.oklemem.com) who she credits for not only propelling her to race but also for making her who she is today.
Meredith (M), Jen (J)
J: Is this your first marathon?
M: No, I have run other 10K’s to get into shape and I knew this would be a good
opportunity to both get into shape and see the memorial.
J: You choose the Oklahoma City Marathon, why?
M: It has always been something I’ve wanted to do and knew it was the first cause competition I wanted to try.
J: You have a more personal tie to OKC though, don’t you?
M: Yes my dad, Alan Whicher was killed in the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995.
J: Do you mind telling me a little about him?
M: Sure, well he was a 20-year-veteran of the secret service. Joined right out of
college, he went to College Park. In 1975, he joined and married my mom shortly after and had me and my brother and sister within in the next ten years. He worked in various places from New York to DC and the surrounding areas in both places. He was actually assigned to the World Trade Center in 1993 when they were first attacked. He was on several vice presidential and presidential details. He worked for Ronald Regan, George H. Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton. He’s actually mentioned in Bush’s first autobiography.
Because of the intensity of the field in those areas we all wanted him to have a less stressful job. So he asked for a transfer to Oklahoma City. There was a federal building out there, the one that was attacked. It was normal for a while, quiet and more importantly my dad seemed more at ease. He was titled Assistant-Special-Agent-in-Charge at that post.
J: And on the day it was attacked what was that like?
M: Surreal…I was 16 and went to school a few miles away from the building. At 9 we felt the doors shake. My teacher asked one of the other kids to go to the door and find out who was there. They reported back that everyone else down the hall was doing the same thing. I knew … in my guy… something was wrong. The loud speaker came on and said that a federal building had been attacked. I immediately went to find my sister and we started calling my mom. We couldn’t get through though. Eventually she called us and said that it was dad’s building and to come home. I did but my sister went with a teacher downtown.
It took three days to find him. He was on the 9th floor (top floor) of the building. His entire office was killed. We had hopes for the first day but after that we knew he wasn’t coming home.
I watched the coverage that day and I remember being with my mom but that’s about it.
J: What happened next?
M: We were surrounded by support from everyone. We moved back immediately to our old neighborhood in Maryland. His funeral was amazing, he was a type-A personality, he was everyone’s friend. Former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both came along with officers, friends, family… the church and cemetery were three miles away and it was packed with cars.
J: How is it for you now running the marathon?
M: It’s hard some days and others its fine. I miss him but I know my life turned out
for the best considering. My family is more laid back but close knit. We try not to get bogged down by the small stuff and just enjoy each other.
The interview with Meredith really encompasses her emotions towards her father and her feelings about running. She wants to see the memorial for the first time, as well as taking her running to a personal level.