Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

August 14, 2014 at 4:31pm

VetREST run in DuPont Saturday

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When local runners don blue in DuPont Aug. 16, it will not only be about honoring those who have fallen, but also about raising funds for the men and women who have served and are suffering from post-traumatic stress.

That day the weekly wear blue: run to remember event will be teaming up with VetREST, a nonprofit dedicated to "helping veterans address their challenges and find peace from their hidden battles," which was founded by Maj. Gen. Daniel York.

VetREST finds veterans with PTS and then matches them with a coach who is prepared to help the veteran across all aspects of their life. However, coaching is only the first line of effort. VetREST also focuses on getting veterans involved with organic gardening, paired with companion dogs and, at the end of these modules, veterans receive recommendations for personal mentors to offer long-term guidance.

York, who still serves as an Army reservist, is a recreational runner and beyond the concept of the 501(c)(3) itself, he believed that organized races could be a way to fund this important work. So began Onaway Runs, which was created to manage a countrywide series of races to benefit VetREST. Onaway is a Chippewa word meaning "ready and alert" which York felt fit the tempo of the military and the goal of his nonprofit.

Presently, there are three VetREST chapters: in Portland, Oregon; Denver, Colorado; and San Diego, California. A fourth chapter is being developed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, which is why a race just outside those very gates made sense.

"We have a lot of connections through JBLM and then we learned about wear blue: run to remember.  We reached out to them to see about working together," said Brian MacArthur, race director for Onaway.

"The JBLM chapter of wear blue: run to remember is proud to support the VetREST race, as what they are doing for our United States Armed Forces is consistent with wear blue's overall mission of honoring the service and sacrifice of our American military," stated chapter co-presidents Rachel Elizalde-Powell and Curtis Brake. "The reality is that the war is not over for far too many just because they come back home."  

Registration will open that day at 8 a.m. in Powderworks Park and the run will begin at 9 a.m. All runners will be given a race T-shirt, water and energy bars prior to the run as part of the $45 entry fee. Following the race there will be an awards ceremony with medallions for top finishers.

"The event will be timed and conclude at 10 a.m., but this is primarily a group run, not a race," explained MacArthur.

A raffle for assorted prizes will also be held afterward; both spectators as well as runners are welcome to participate and purchase tickets. To register for the run in DuPont, go to http://bit.ly/1tCoCPH.

Following the run near JBLM in August, there will be runs in Boulder and Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the West Point Military Academy and then 2014 will conclude with a turkey trot in Belton, Texas, near Fort Hood.

"The goal is to make these annual events," said MacArthur. "In years to come we really want to turn this (in DuPont) into a larger-scale run."

For more on VetREST, visit www.vetrest.org

Filed under: Veterans, Sports, Benefits, Community,
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