Despite the cold, rainy weather, over seventy-five runners fought their way through the mud and rain towards the finish line of the 2015 Purple Heart 10K, 5K, and One-Mile Race Saturday morning at the Bainbridge State College main campus.
All proceeds for the event were donated to the Red Hills Wounded Warrior Group, a non-profit organization that was originated in 2011 by Walter Hatchett and Brian Proctor for the benefit of wounded soldiers returning from active duty overseas.
Walter Hatchett’s wife, Phyllis Hatchett, attended Saturday’s event, expressing her appreciation to the community and BSC, for the strong support of the group and race.
She said, “We appreciate the support everyone has given us for the Red Hills Wounded Warrior Group and the Purple Heart Race. We want people to know these guys (wounded soldiers) and talk to them. It gives them a chance to meet people and for the community to meet them. You would not believe the stories they have to tell. By hosting these races, it gives our wounded warriors a chance to feel welcomed and make friends in the community.”
The overall purpose of the organization is to organize outdoor hunting events with fellow wounded soldiers that would otherwise not have the opportunities afforded to them. The Red Hills Wounded Warrior Group is made up in cooperation with the National Wounded Warrior Project and consists of young men from the states of Florida, Georgia and Alabama. An additional objective for the group is to bring awareness to all National Heroes that have served the country.
“This is our way of doing something to help out. Hunting is our passion and decided to give our National Heroes outdoor opportunities, something that they may not get to do as much as they once did,” said Hatchett.
Others such as Bryon Webb, who has been in the U.S. Marines for the past ten years, see the impact these events have on wounded soldiers returning from overseas.
He said, “This is such a beneficial event for the country’s soldiers. I have had many friends wounded in major operations, and this event really helps them out so much. It goes above and beyond in helping the wounded heroes of the United States.”
Top five 10K runners: Myles Gibson (44:57), David Welling (48:03), Ridge Harper (48:21), Philip Sura (49:22) and Mark Tombrink (53:38).
Top five 5K runners: Dustin Reynolds (21:59), JD Poole (22:09), Lane Odom (25:07), John Bickley (26:17) and Laura Reina (26:52).