EAST BRUNSWICK – The heat did not stop more than a hundred people participate in the township’s annual 5K charity race to support veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The 5K was sponsored by the East Brunswick Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Memorial Post 133 held at the East Brunswick Community Arts Center on July 24.
At 9 a.m., the runners/walkers took off as bystanders cheered for the competitors. The racecourse took the runners through a designated path that ultimately returned them to the Arts Center. Once most of the runners returned, awards were given to the top three male/female finishers in the following age categories: 19 and under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 & over.
The funds raised by the participants will directly benefit Unbroken Warriors, an organization that supports veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Race Director Wayne Lyons, who also serves as an auxiliary member with VFW Post 133, said the money raised supports the rehabilitation and recovery of soldiers impacted by PTSD. He explained that through Unbroken Warriors, veterans receive treatment to drastically improves their lives.
“You can see the big difference,” he said, describing the improvement that the treatment provides.
VFW 133 Post Commander and U.S. Navy veteran Thomas Coohill added the funds also help with addressing veteran homelessness and suicide prevention.
“It’s a great cause. The money goes to Unbroken Warriors, which also supports veterans with PTSD and veteran suicide. Part of the money will go to homeless veterans in Middlesex County,” he said.
In addition to raising money, Coohill believes that the 5K race enables the community and veterans to connect with each other. He stated that his goal is to proactively improve the life of fellow veterans by continuing to build comradery and offer support.
“It’s amazing. We all have stories, and our goal is to support veterans. Every day is Veterans’ Day for me. I get up every morning with the idea that I’m going to make life better for veterans. That’s what it’s about,” he said.