Run As One will be held at Camp Grayling to support area veterans
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Area residents will host a run and walk at Camp Grayling to honor veterans who have served the country and those currently on duty protecting the nation’s freedoms.
Veterans organization Team Rubicon, the Gaylord chapter of Team Red White and Blue, and The Mission Continues will host the sixth annual Run As One at 7 a.m. on Sunday, April 9, at Camp Grayling’s Joint Maneuver Training Center.
Run As One is held to honor Marine Veteran Clay Hunt, an original member of Team Rubicon, The Mission Continues and a Wounded Warrior Project Alum, who took his own life in March 2011 at the age of 28 after battling post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama at a ceremony at the White House on Feb, 12 2015. The aim of the law, which was developed by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and federal lawmakers, is to reduce military and veteran suicides and improve access to quality mental health care.
Team Red, White and Blue’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activities.
Locally, those activities include triathlons, runs and walks, trail runs, and gorucking, which includes walking with weighted packs on participants’ backs.
“We try to get veterans, when they come out of service, and help them adjust to life,” said Jon Williamson, the athletic director for the Gaylord chapter of Team Red, White and Blue.
Williamson served 22 years in the U.S. Army in a Blackhawk helicopter aviation group. He became involved in Team Red, White and Blue by taking part in triathlons.
A native of Gladwin, Williamson moved to Grayling after his military service to be near family in Lovells and Lewiston.
“I wanted a quiet place to live,” he said. “Growing up as a kid, I was always coming up here.”
Williamson served as the human resources manager for AJD Forest Products for three years, and has been a firefighter and medic for the Grayling Department of Public Safety since 2005.
The Run As One will be held at Camp Grayling to align with military personnel visiting the base to conduct their required weekend drills.
“We are trying to capture as many people as we can who are going to be up here training to do it with us that morning,” Williamson said.
There is no cost to participate in the Run As One, but participants can make a donation and get a T-shirt when they register for the event.
As of Friday, March 31, $850 was raised.
“That changes daily,” Williamson said.
The Gaylord chapter of Team Red, White and Blue includes about 100 members, and has branched off to cover the Traverse City-area.
Funds collected will be split between the various organizations formed to support veterans.
Members from Team Rubicon, which was formed to assist emergency first responders, will be on hand for the Run As One.
“They’ll go to disaster relief areas and they’re a bunch of ex-military,” Williamson said. “They just show up, and in absence of any guidance, they’ll just start helping out.”
In addition, leaders from 22 Until None, a veterans group formed to highlight the fact that 22 veterans take their own lives every day with hopes of reducing that number to zero, will also be at the event.
Juice, coffee, and refreshments will be served after participants take part in the run and walk.
To register, go to www.crowdrise.com/RunAsOne. For more information, call Matt Soderquist at (989) 619-7245 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.