5k Fundraiser to Benefit Guard Troops and Families
Story by: Master Sgt. Corine Lombardo - 42nd Infantry Division Dated: Sat, Jun 14, 2008
Children of New York National Guard personnel participated in a 1K run during the National Guard’s Family Readiness Council ‘Hometown Heroes 5K Run’, Saturday, June 14, 2008. Brigadier General Michael Swezey started the race, held in Colonie, NY.
COLONIE, NY- Fifteen year old Michela Silver competed in her first five kilometer (5K) race when she joined her mother, Senior Master Sgt. Penny Sheedy and nearly 200 capital region residents, New York National Guard personnel and family members, for the ‘Hometown Heroes Run’, Saturday, June 14, 2008.
“I really enjoyed it and plan to do more,” said Silver, adding, “This is a great way to show support and raise funds for military families.” Her mother, Master Sgt. Sheedy, is a training manager at the 109th Airlift Wing in Scotia. The fund-raising event, coordinated by the New York National Guard Family Readiness Council, took place at Crossings Park in the Town of Colonie and also included a one-mile Fun Run for Kids.
The New York National Guard Family Readiness Council is a 501c (3) non-profit organization created earlier this year to benefit the families of National Guard service members across the state.
Members of the National Guard come under unique pressures when they are activated for federal or state duty in times of emergency. Unlike active duty military members, “Citizen Soldiers” do not live on or near military bases that can provide the range of support services to families during periods of separation.
The Council helps fill the financial void that is often created during periods of service deployments or separations for Citizen Soldiers. Military personnel are routinely supported by the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs Family Program; however, they are prohibited from soliciting donations. “The Council stepped in and bridged the gap between what we can’t do as a state agency and what they can do as a not-for profit organization,” said Beverly Keating, State Family Program Director. “We serve as the conduit between families in need and the Council.” All proceeds from the fund raising event go directly to the Council to benefit military families.
“This is a great opportunity for our communities to interact with and support our military personnel” said, Susan Taluto, President of the New York National Guard Family Readiness Council. “We’ve had a great turn out, a lot of enthusiasm and we look forward to expanding the run in the future”.
The New York National Guard currently has more than 2,500 Soldiers and Airmen mobilized for active duty and deployed or preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as homeland security duties throughout New York State. The Family Readiness Counsel provides direct and indirect assistance to the family members of the New York Organized Militia through grant programs, family readiness workshops and education events as well as through family readiness outreach programs.
The 2008 “Hometown Heroes Run” was the first fundraising event for the new organization, drawing donations and support from runners, local veterans’ organizations and the Association of the United States Army Capital District Chapter. The fundraiser garnered more than $4,000. which will be used to help military families throughout the state.
The date was chosen as a way to commemorate Flag Day and celebrate the Army’s 233rd birthday. The American Army first formed as the Continental Army in 1775.