Tears were evident and U.S. Army colonels in battle dress uniform cheered as Luis picked up speed and crossed the finish line.
Following the tragedy of September 11, Luis, a senior at Perkins School for the Blind, wanted to enlist in the military, but couldn't because he is blind. Instead, on December 11, 2001 he ran 5K around the Boston Common to show his support for the men and women in America's Armed Forces. For Luis, it was especially important to make the run during the holidays and the historic Common in downtown Boston, MA was the perfect location.
To help Luis, Devillier contacted Fort Devens an Army Reserve installation in Massachusetts and headquarters for the 94th Regional Support Command. Luis proposed to use his run as a way of helping raise pledges of money for the families of members of the Support Command who were being deployed for homeland defense duties. Luis felt it was important to show how anyone can support the military in the war on terrorism.
Moved by Luis' effort members of the Support Command volunteered to run with him including Lt. Col. Merrit Otto, commander of the Devens Reserve Forces Training Area.
Devillier helped organize the run and contacted the media. The results were both moving and highly successful. American Forces Radio and Television Service and Stars and Stripes newspaper, both of which are distributed to military around the world, including the area around Afghanistan, covered the run. In addition, there was strong local coverage by WBZ-TV the local CBS affiliate, the Associated Press, which reaches outlets throughout New England, WBZ-AM radio (during drive time), and Boston Metro.