This Sunday, November 9, The Evergreen State College will start celebrating Veterans’ Day early. The college will be one of more than 100 USA Track and Field events called Run with a Soldier, happening nationally this weekend.
The 5K run/walk and one mile family walk to honor servicemen and women and veterans will raise money for the new Evergreen Veterans’ Center and for the college’s own track and field program.
Run with a Soldier is a first-of-its-kind USATF initiative, motivating runners across America to connect in person and on social media with men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Avid runners are encouraged to identify soldiers in their communities and run alongside the service men and women in local races.
Run with a Soldier is a product of U.S. Paralympic Team Head Coach Bryan Hoddle’s vision to help rehabilitate wounded warriors, based on his time as a volunteer at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and with the Lakeshore Foundation.
“When soldiers come home, it’s not over for them,” said Hoddle, referring to physical injuries and PTSD. But, he noted, many veterans tell him that exercise, and running in particular, makes them feel better.
The Evergreen State College, an acknowledged military-friendly school with a growing veteran population and a respected track and field program, was a natural partner for Hoddle, who lives in Olympia. “Evergreen has a phenomenally supportive veterans’ group,” said Hoddle, regarding the year-old campus Veterans’ Resource Center.
According to Evergreen’s Vet Corps Navigator, Elizabeth West, who works in the Veterans Resource Center (VRC), funds raised from the run will help pay for veterans’ events on campus, including the annual coining ceremony. The VRC will be on hand at the event with information tables and will be setting up a flag display on campus later that afternoon.
Hoddle, who was recently honored by the State of Washington’s House of Representatives for working with disabled soldiers and athletes with disabilities, expects up to 100 participants this weekend and hopes Run with a Soldier will become an annual Veterans’ Day weekend event.
“Running is healthy for the body and mind,” said Hoddle. “I realized that we could make Veterans Day so much more impactful by joining forces… to hopefully start a national running tradition. This is only the first year; if we help even one soldier, that will be awesome.”
Sunday-Tuesday – flag display VRC will be present. Grass area, ppl can place flags for veterans. Will already be flags for all the vets on campus.