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WNY AUSA creates a new way of recognizing Veterans Day

The Veterans Day 5K Race logo.

BY: Kaitlin Fritz, Metro Source | November 08, 2012

Veterans Day is about honoring the brave men and women of our military, past, present and fallen. It’s about taking some time from the hustle and bustle of our busy schedules and thanking those who have fought and are fighting for our freedom.

Instead of just thanking a veteran this year, you can do much more. The Western New York chapter of the Association of the United States Army has partnered up with the Buffalo Paradigm Company to host Buffalo’s very first annual Veterans Day 5K Race.

The race will begin at 11 a.m. on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at the Buffalo Naval and Military Park. The cost to participate is $20. There will also be a children’s race, which begins at 10:30 a.m. and is $10.

Proceeds from the race will directly benefit the military by going to Soldiers’ Angels. Soldiers’ Angels supports all branches of the military and will be using the money raised at the race to send care packages to deployed troops for the holidays.

“It’s not just a run,” said President of the WNY chapter of the AUSA Troy Steward.

“We see this as a way to raise awareness of Veterans Day in the community. I think a lot of people care and have veterans in their families but they just don’t know what to do. They don’t know how to thank the veterans.”

Steward believes this is a great way to thank our veterans and hopes to make it into a bigger event as the years go on.

“We want it to be as big and as popular as the Turkey Trot,” he said. “We want it to be something that Buffalo can be known for.”

There is also a 1.5K walk for those who’d prefer not to run. Each participant can run or walk in honor of a veteran and can display the name of that veteran on their shirts.

Participants will also receive a gift bag containing a pint glass with the run’s logo as well as a set of commemorative dog tags and more. A special prize will be given to those who take the challenge of “running in their boots.” This challenge encourages runners and walkers to literally take a walk in military boots. Steward said this is a way for civilians to get a feel of what it’s like to be in their shoes.

The race will be lead by the Patriot Guard Riders. The Patriot Guard Riders are a group of motorcyclists that believe in showing the utmost respect for those who risk their lives for our country. They attend the funerals of fallen heroes and shield the mourning families from possible disruptions.

At the finish line, they’ll line the streets with their motorcycles, waving the American flag with pride.

Several local flag companies have also donated American flags to be given out at the race. Hundreds of American flags will be handed to those who attend and participate in the race to wave in honor of our veterans.

“It’s going to be a sea of American flags down there,” said Steward.

There will also be several raffles and other activities for attendees to participate in. Local military groups will be present and are also encouraged to run in the race as a team.

More than 200 runners have registered so far and many more are expected. To register for the race, visit www.wnyausa.org/VetsDay5K. You can also register on site on the day of the race.

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