In its second year, the 5K Warrior Run in Rusk more than doubled its number of sponsors by raising funds for the Military Veteran Peer Network of Cherokee and Anderson County.
Participants gathered at Rusk Footbridge Park on Saturday for the race created by Jennifer Pacheco, who lost her veteran husband to suicide in 2014.
“The purpose of the run is to raise suicide awareness in our military and to connect our veterans with people who can lend a listening ear and a helping hand,” Pacheco said.
Funds raised could go to something as small as help with an electricity bill or as big as a retirement stay, she said.
“Whether it’s an electric bill to pay, a yard to cut, a ramp to build, or even funding a month-long stay at a retreat for a struggling veteran, there is nothing too small or too big when it comes to saving a life,” Pacheco said.
The race started and finished at the catwalk with a section of the race running through the main town center so spectators could cheer on the participants.
“We had an incredible turnout. We had eight sponsors this year, which has more than doubled from last year. We were able to raise over $600 through registrations and donations for t-shirts that will be donated to the Military Veteran Peer Network of Cherokee and Anderson County,” Pacheco said. “This organization is strictly funded by donations, so it is vital that the community supports it.”
“We need more people who are passionate about the cause. There are many opportunities to help and participate in assisting our local veterans,” Pacheco said.
For more information about the Cherokee and Anderson County Military Veteran Peer Network, visit milvetpeer.net.