Race aids families of fallen
On Saturday, the area's first-ever “Joggin' for Frogmen 5K” race kicked off in Oakdale to benefit the Navy SEALs and to fund programs to help fallen military.
“The Navy SEALs is a very close-knit family,” said Ed Stewart, 62, of Green Tree, a former SEAL, who retired from the military in 1993 and organized Saturday's race. “When you go through what we went through as SEALs, you form a bond that is inseparable.”
About 100 racers participated, with the money split between the Navy SEALs Foundation and the “31 Heroes Project,” established to help support families of fallen military and named in honor of 31 members of the military who died when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011.
None of those on board were from the Pittsburgh area, but among those lost were 17 SEALs, and their sacrifice resonated with SEAL veterans here.
“So when I learned that these races were held last year in San Diego and Oahu (Hawaii), I contacted the organizers about having a race on the East Coast,” Stewart said.
Those on the helicopter were on their way to assist Army Rangers engaged in fierce combat.
Money raised by race registration fees and sponsorships as well as a dinner Saturday night at the Sen. John Heinz History Center is split between Snowball Express, which assists children of fallen military, and the Travis Manion Foundation, which assists the families of fallen military members.
One racer, Brandon Myers, 25, of Elizabeth Township, will begin SEAL training next month, but he already feels an affinity with them.
“Every SEAL I've run into has treated me like one of their own,” Myers said. “I can't think of another place more important for me to be today than out here doing something to support the families of soldiers who sacrificed so much.”
Cindy Leszunov, 57, of Imperial said she participated in the race to honor her father, John Felker, 84, a retired Navy captain.
“It's important to support members of all branches of the armed forces because they did a lot for us,” said Leszunov. “I truly believe that without them, we wouldn't have the freedom we enjoy.”
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, said Saturday's race and dinner are great ways to support military families.
“While the military covers some of the expenses their families face, there's so much more all of us can do to help,” said Murphy, a Navy reservist. “I came out today to show my support for this cause and hopefully spread the word about the importance of these kind of events.”
Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Five taken to hospitals after school bus-SUV crash in Washington Township
- Federal tax-fraud investigation appears to be closing in on North Hills businessman
- McKeesport juvenile hit by school bus on Eden Park Boulevard
- Hempfield faculty given active shooter training
- Steelers accomplish mission to get younger, faster on defense
- Pirates, Marlins in talks to play 2016 game in Puerto Rico
- Bubble players get last chance to impress Steelers
- Asking price for Penguins franchise said to be at a record $750M
- Pitt’s Bisnowaty ‘ready to go’ but may not start vs. Youngstown State
- Youngwood pool ends 2015 season in the black
- Porterfield: Normalville firefighters to sell hoagies