I was truly inspired by all of the events surrounding Saturday’s Joggin’ for Frogmen 5K race in Imperial.
Heading up to the park on the most beautiful morning we’ve had so far this spring, it didn’t feel like I was working. As I approached the large group that had already gathered to register, stretch and get hydrated for their run, I was struck by the colors of red, white and blue all over the place. Patriotism and a love of our service members and veterans were so evident.
Then I recalled the Joggin’ for Frogmen mission I had read about: “Inspired by US Navy SEALs (Frogmen), the mission of the Joggin’ for Frogmen Race Series is to activate communities from around the world to honor the sacrifices of our service members and veterans, and to support the families of our fallen heroes. Our races bring communities together to celebrate the lives of America’s fallen and to express our deep gratitude to those still serving.”
The bringing together of a community part of that mission was so evident here in Imperial Saturday.
From the number of local sponsors who helped support the event with money, raffle items, prizes and food for the barbecue, to the runners who paid a fee to compete (part of which went to the fundraising), to the volunteers who helped start and time the race to the VFW Color Guard, firemen and EMS who were also there for support—it was truly a community effort. Preceded by a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by three of our local high school vocalists, State Sen. Dan Hughes gave a great speech about remembering to keep our veterans and service members in mind, not just on Memorial Day or Veterans Day, but always. Events such as the Joggin’ for Frogmen throughout the year do just that, he said.
Then there is Imperial race director Kelsey Owens, whose whole family was there taking part and helping her with details, along with a host of other volunteers.
Joggin’ for Frogmen drew 50 more 5K participants this year than last, and will eclipse last year’s fundraising that neared $11,000. Recipients of the fundraising include The 31 Heroes Project, the Navy SEAL Foundation and the Travis Manion Foundation.
All funds raised help sustain and grow charitable programs that provide immediate and ongoing assistance to the Naval Special Warfare community, as well as families of fallen sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines. The specially-designed programs include scholarships, tragedy assistance, survivor support, family services, career mentoring and community building projects.
I commend the volunteers who help stage this race here, which completed its second run Saturday. It is my hope that its success continues to build for many years to come.