SPEAKER SERIES presented by Essentia Health
World class speakers have been a long standing tradition at the Fargo Marathon since our first year. People like Dick Beardsley, Dave McGillivray, Sarah Reinertsen, Matt Long, Dean Karnazes.. .just to name a few.
For 2013, don’t expect anything less than great!
NAME: Ivan Castro
BIRTHPLACE: Hoboken, New Jersey
MILITARY BACKGROUND: Capt Ivan Castro enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1988. His past assignments include the 101st Airborne Division, 101st Pathfinder Detachment, Fort Campbell, KY; 5th Corp Long Range Surveillance Company, Darmstadt, Germany; 3rd Ranger Battalion, Drill Sergeant, Fort Benning, Ga.; 82nd Airborne Division, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Special Operations Recruiting Battalion, United States Army Special Operations Command, FT Bragg, NC.
Castro has served in Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm, Deployments to Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo, Multiple Deployments to South and Central America, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom.
CPT Castro continues to serve on active duty assigned to FT Bragg, NC.
Capt. Ivan Castro was injured while serving as a First Lieutenant with the 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom, September 2, 2006.
Castro sustained life threatening injuries and was blinded in both eyes when mortar shells landed near him killing two men in his unit.
Castro’s determination, strength and motivation are repeatedly displayed. He battled back from his injuries to return to active duty and subsequently became the first blind graduate of the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course at Fort Benning,, GA. Since his injury, Castro has participated in more than 24 marathons, including the New York, Boston and Marine Corps Marathons. In 2012, Castro challenged himself further by cycling across America.
Some of his military education includes the Special Forces Qualification Course, Survival with Resistance to Interrogation Course, Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape course, Special Operation Target Interdiction Course, Military Free Fall Course, Ranger Course, Pathfinder Course, Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat Course, Long Range Surveillance Leaders Course.
Some of Castro’s awards and decorations include the Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Superior Unit Award, Purple Heart (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (with two Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Commendation Medal (with one Silver and one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (with two Oak Leaf Cluster), Combat Infantry Badge with one star, Expert Infantry Badge, Drill Sergeant Identification Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, Colombian Jumpmaster Badge, Dutch Parachutist Badge, German Parachutist Badge, Ukrainian Parachutist Badge, Ranger and Special Forces Tabs.
Castro was featured in country music singer Joe Nichol’s 2011 video for his hit song, “The Shape I’m In.”
Castro continues to serve off the battlefield by mentoring injured service members and their families. He is a strong advocate for those with all types of disabilities to ensure that education, training, and technology is available to all.
Captain Castro’s biggest inspiration is his family as he strives to show them that even though he is blind, he is still the same man as before his injury… driven and determined.
Castro has never lost sight of who he is and believes that although his sight has been taken from him, there is still life out there to be fully lived and enjoyed. Although doors have been closed by the nature of his injury, he continues to show that there are many doors out there to open…all you need is a vision and the will to keep moving forward out of the darkness!