By Terry Haines
Rogue Valley VeteRUN came out of an idea a little over three years ago about what kind of activity could our Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA) chapter do to engage the younger generation. We decided to do a 5K fun run and take off on the word veteran and turn it into a VeteRUN.
Our first year after expenses, (mostly t-shirts), we raised $8,000 and gave it to Patriot Project that addressed veteran suicide, Team Overland which takes depressed veterans on outdoor adventures, a local Vietnam Wall project that was building a replica of the Vietnam wall like in Washington DC and White Heart Guardian Project that also take veterans into the outdoors to let nature aid in the recovery for PTSD.
Our second year after expenses we raised $12,000 and gave it to Mighty Oaks that addressed veteran suicide and a divorce rate among combat veterans in excess of 80%, Honor Flight of Oregon that takes our WW2 & Korean veterans to Washington DC to visit their memorials and to experience a grateful nation along the way. We also supported White Heart Guardian Project again.
Our current event will again support Mighty Oaks, Honor Flight of Oregon, a youth group called Camp White Young Marines that teaches discipline, leadership, patriotism and respect to young boys and girls age 8-18. We are also supporting Divide Camp that takes depressed vets to a remote location in northeast Oregon for a variety of outdoor activities.
Addressing veteran suicide has been a constant theme through all three VeteRuns as all of us know of someone who has committed suicide, my father being one of them. I attended Mighty Oaks in May 2018 and it was a life changing event for me. When we were trying to determine which charities to support this year, were took a poll and Mighty Oaks by far had the most votes by a margin of 3 to 1 and well over 1,000 votes.
The third annual VeteRun takes place Saturday, October 12, 2019. Please pray for a successful event! If you would like to support this event and help Mighty Oaks at the same time, you can do one of 2 things. #1, go to https://ncoarogue.org and go to the VeteRun tab where you can either sign up to run or walk at a cost of $25 or make a donation to support the cause depending on which button you hit.