Runners help raise money for wounded soldiers

On Saturday in the Stewart Stadium, 102 people ran eight kilometers to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. The Weber State University ROTC hosted the event — the first time it’s had an 8K.

“Being a military organization on campus, we felt like we had the resources, the time to do something with a very positive note, and the Wounded Warrior Foundation is something close to our heart,” said Jeff Stuart, the operations officer in the ROTC offices, who organized the event.

All of the money raised went to the Wounded Warrior Project. The project is an organization that helps wounded soldiers by providing services and programs to meet their needs.

“I think we all know someone who has been injured or wounded in combat, so it just seemed like a smart and good thing to do,” Stuart said.

Lt. Col. Bob Bashein, a military science professor, said that when the ROTC was organizing the event, it was looking for someone connected to Wounded Warrior. They found Sylvia Newman, an English instructor at WSU, who spoke at the event about her experiences with Wounded Warrior.

Newman’s son stepped on a explosive device in Afghanistan in 2011, losing his left leg and shattering his right leg and pelvis. He is now fully recovered and has a prosthetic leg.

“In the 10 months I spent with him (in recovery), there wasn’t a day that went by that we didn’t see someone from the Wounded Warrior Project,” Newman said. “It’s a great program and the military takes care of their own, but they can’t do it all, so they need help from nonprofit organizations.”

Newman also ran the 8K and received a ribbon for finishing second within her age division.

Robert Finicum, a health education major, came from Utah Valley University to participate in the 8K. He came with a group of people in the UVU ROTC. Finicum came in first place with a time of 29 minutes and 59 seconds. His team also won the award for having the fastest overall time for a military team in the race. All of the members of the team were within the first 10 to finish.

Heidi Krebs, a microbiology major, was the first female to finish, coming in sixth overall with a time of 34 minutes and 56 seconds. She said this race meant a lot to her because, about a year ago, she was hit by a car and broke her pelvis.

“I worked really hard — last year I could barely walk this time, so I am really happy,” Krebs said. “Being injured kind of hits home to me. If there is a way I could help other people with a little race fee, I’m totally going to do it.”

The ROTC also raised money through sponsors and selling raffle tickets. One of the sponsors was the Canine Companion for Independence, which trains service dogs and pairs them with people who need them. It contains a special program that works with wounded veterans.

Other sponsors present included the National Guard, Ivory Homes, Chase and Harrison Regent, which handed out food and drinks for the runners.

Stuart said they will do another 8K next year and are trying to make it an annual event. He said they are probably going to raise money for Wounded Warriors next year.