5th Annual USC Veterans Day 5k raises money for Big Red Barn Retreat

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Published: Nov. 13, 2022 at 7:09 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - In its fifth year, the USC Veterans Day 5k is raising money for the Warrior PATHH, a 7-day in-residence program at the Big Red Barn Retreat in Blythewood. This comes after the race reached its goal for its inaugural fundraising effort.

“As a committee, we decided we wanted to honor a different military and veteran nonprofit every year moving forward, and so that’s what we’re going to do from here on out,” said USC Veterans Day 5k Co-Organizer, Jared Evans. “The Big Red Barn, what they do in Blythewood for our service members, our vets, our first responders is incredible.”

In its first four years, the race raised more than $52,000 in total for Columbia’s Fisher House, a facility that allows veterans’ families to stay for free while their loved one receives treatment at a VA hospital. Construction for Columbia’s facility is now underway.

Sunday, more than 400 people participated in the race to support local veterans through the Warrior PATHH Program. Funds will go toward therapies including yoga, tai chi, and equine therapy. The 7-day program is free for veterans and first responders. Race organizers chose to support the Warrior PATHH Program because of its positive impact on our nation’s heroes.

“Having experienced that life changing event, having been through the Warrior PATHH, words can’t describe it. To be able to give back to those who did so much for me and created that change moving forward,” said USC Veterans Day 5k Co-Organizer, Brooks Herring.

David Williams, the Executive Director of the Big Red Barn Retreat, is a veteran and went through the program himself.

“When you leave there, you can reintegrate and be a better husband, a better father, and a better employee,” said Williams. “I love it when parents come up to us or spouses and say, you’re giving my son or daughter purpose back into their life. And they feel like they’ve got their mission back in life.”

U.S. Army Veteran David Hale returned for his second race Sunday. Hale says it feels good to participate knowing the funds are going to a program he’s benefitted from.

“With having been hit with a few medical issues due to combat, anything to help others out there who have similar issues,” Hale.

Grant Robitzsch, a veteran and volunteer with veteran-led nonprofit Team Rubicon, says the event gave volunteers an opportunity to show appreciation for our nation’s heroes.

“It feels really good in the heart. It really does,” said Robitzsch. “Service members really do a lot. They put their lives on the line. And I think it’s the littlest thing we can do to give back to show our support for them and just the small gesture of saying thanks.”

If you’d like to get involved in events that support our community’s veterans and service members, contact USC’s Veterans and Military Services or visit the USC Veterans Day 5k website.

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