WARWICK—Some ran the 10K, others the 5K, and some just walked the course, while youngsters did the Kids Fun Run during the third annual 2016 Memorial HERo Run on June 11 in Warwick.
In its third year, the run was in memory of Lt. Col. Jamie Leonard who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2013. According to Elizabeth Harman, executive director of HERoes in Deed, about 260 runners signed up.
The Warwick Valley VFW presented a plaque to Jamie Leonard’s family, who came out in force. VFW Commander Dan Burger said, “Jamie was a soldier’s soldier. The Warwick Valley veterans of foreign wars will forever remember LTC Jamie E. Leonard as the embodiment of duty, honor, and country,” he said.
John MacDonald, senior vice commander of the post 4662, said they were there “to make people aware that we actually exist. A lot of the young guys coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq have felt some kind of disconnect” and the VFW is there to support returning vets, he said.
Runners, Walkers, and Kids
Running teams and individuals who knew Jamie participated. For the younger kids, an obstacle course was set up. Children ran up and down bleachers, jumped through tires, crawled under colorful zig zagged strips, jumped off stacked hay bales, and ran through two long plastic tubes.
Alexis Gomez, Emma Zahra, and Emily Forman from the Chester Boot Camp gym wanted to support the vets.
Stacy Fitzgerald, her husband, and daughter ran the 5K while her son ran the Fun Run obstacle course. Kendra Wendt was there for her first 5K and just wanted to support the fundraiser.
Karen Devora walked the 5K to honor her former student. Devora taught Leonard in the sixth grade. “Jamie was a great girl. Did us proud,” she said.
Bill Dawson said he was there to support the organization. “I’m not going to race, but I’ll be running.”
The run was pleasant and interesting according to some posts on Facebook. Laurie Courage wrote, “What a fun and beautiful course!”
HERoes in Deed says on its website that “Jaimie’s drive to make the world a better place is the force behind our mission.” The nonprofit is finding ways to learn what the community and local veterans and service members need to develop programs.
The organization has given out scholarships in previous years.
This year, HERoes partnered with the Warwick Historical Society and Family Central to build a play area on the historical society’s property, Baird’s Tavern, Harman said.
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