TULSA WORLD: Veteran support brings 5k to Tulsa

By RALPH SCHAEFER Special to the Ledger | 0 comments
Strong support for veterans resulted in Tulsa being selected for a 5K race by the National Disabled Veterans Association, it was announced recently.
The inaugural race will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Guthrie Green in downtown Tulsa. Ceremonies recognizing veteran participants will be around 11 a.m. at Lucky’s On the Green.
Preregistration can be completed on the website at dav5k.org. Pretickets can be picked up from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday at Runners World.
Danny Oliver, DAV state adjutant, expressed the hope that at least 1,000 people would participate in Saturday’s event that will be held annually.
This is an honor to be selected by the national organization, said Oliver, who is a Coweta resident. Tulsa and Oklahoma are recognized nationally for their veteran support along with Atlanta, Boston and Newport News, Va.
Tulsa’s DAV facility at Pine and Harvard serves thousands of veterans and their families annually in a variety of ways that includes helping them with claims.
American Airlines is the presenting sponsor and is contributing $25,000 to the event. That money and the net proceeds raised will go to the the national DAV and local programs to help educate veterans and their loved ones provide education and obtain deserved benefits.
The 5k participants will include veterans as well as family members wearing bibs honoring loved ones who served their country, Oliver continued. At the end of the event and award ceremonies there will be opportunities for veterans and their families to get together and tell “sea stories” about their experiences. The purpose is to let them know they are not alone and the community is standing with them.
A special sword will be brought to Tulsa and notable participants will be involved in the run.
The Spartan Sword, made from 25 pounds of steel from the World Trade Center, originally was designed for veterans and first responders, but it has become a symbol of strength and hope for many, he said.
Veterans will have the opportunity to take the pledge which reads:
“I will not take my own life by my own hand without talking to my battle buddy first.
“My mission is to help me find my war fighting family.”
The oath was written by Boone Cutler.
The sword is maintained in New York City, but is taken to various locations, Oliver said. The travel box for the sword was made by Tulsa’s American Airlines personnel so there is a local connection.
Race participants will include both individuals and members of motorcycle clubs who will start the event. They will return to the starting line ready to greet those running, walking or rolling in the 5k.
Dave Riley, from Atlanta, the DAV national commander and a quadruple amputee, will bring his specially designed bicycle and participate in the race, he said. Marc Burgess, from Kentucky and the National DAV chief executive officer and adjutant, also is scheduled to attend.
DAV representatives from San Antonio and Raleigh, N.C., will be attending to get a hands-on look at starting the race in their communities next year.
Oliver said the National DAV selected Oklahoma because residents are very patriotic and supportive of veterans.
That support extends from the beginning to the thank you bags that will be passed out to veterans participating in the Saturday event.