EDISON – A community of runners from across New Jersey arrived at the Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 3117 ready to race.
The post held its first 5K run/walk Sept. 17 to benefit the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park. The course took participants in a loop from National Road to Brunswick Avenue to Post 3117.
The top three finishers were: Danny Bradley, Kevin Morales, and Anne Jones.
According to Race Director Filipe Oliveira, the inaugural event was a special opportunity to support veterans in need. Oliveira, who served in the U.S. Navy during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, now serves as the post commander for the VFW and as a Port Authority police officer.
He stated that all military service members, regardless of their deployment or combat status, are of equal importance.
“It’s what we do. We are a veteran’s organization, we always help. It doesn’t matter if it’ a combat veteran or just a veteran, we’re still going to do the job to help out,” Oliveira said.
With a sizeable turnout, Oliveira said the event raised $2,500. In addition to supporting local veterans, he said the funds will also be donated to the Ozanam Family Shelter – a shelter for women and children – in Edison.
Now that the event’s foundation has been set, Oliveira anticipates that next year’s race will also be successful.
“We’re getting our names out there that Edison has a VFW. We’re out here helping the community and we’re always trying to look for more things to do. By having these events, people see us and that can draw more people. We’re building it up. So, it’s our first year and next year will be bigger,” he said.