TALLMADGE — City leaders honored resident and U.S. Marine veteran Micah Herndon on Thursday for his military service and the determination he displayed after leg cramps forced to him to complete the 123rd annual Boston Marathon on his hands and knees.

“Hopefully I brought some honor to Tallmadge and made everyone here proud,” Herndon said during a special presentation.

At the start of the city council meeting, Mayor Dave Kline gave Herndon a copy of a congratulatory resolution, thanked him for his military service and showed a newspaper photo of Herndon fighting his way to the finish line April 15.

“Twenty-six miles and you would not give up,” Kline told Herndon, adding that his effort demonstrated a “true heart.”

“It really does mean a lot to get recognized,” said Herndon, who served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After returning home from military service, Herndon found an outlet in distance running and achieved the dream that many endurance runners pursue — qualifying to compete in the Boston Marathon, one of the sport’s signature races. Herndon has said the memory of three friends he lost in Afghanistan was with him as he labored to the finish line.

Images of the physically agonizing finish spread across social media and were quickly shared tens of thousands of times.

He was approached for interviews by the likes of everyone from the Boston Globe to "Good Morning America," and admitted it was uncomfortable dealing with the wave of attention.

But he said he's glad to keep alive the memories of those who were killed in a 2010 roadside blast while traveling in a convoy in which he was a machine gunner.

Now, Herndon said he wants to call attention to ongoing challenges facing fellow veterans.

“The big message I do want people to see is [raising] awareness on our returning vets,” Herndon said Thursday evening. “…[Post-traumatic stress disorder] and survivor’s guilt affects the veteran community throughout our nation.”

He added that the families of service members need assistance and support, too.

“We need to not forget the families that the service member leaves behind,” Herndon said.

 

Tom Nader and Beacon Journal staff writer Craig Webb contributed to this report.