More than 240 runners and walkers, the largest number since the race’s inception, participated in the West Central Missouri Veterans Assistance League (VAL) “Run for Freedom 5K, 10K and Poker Walk” at Missouri Veterans Home in Warrensburg on Oct. 6.
Through record attendance, as well as unprecedented sponsorship support, the event raised more than $15,000, which will be used to replace the aging soft serve ice cream machine located in the home’s canteen.
“Free soft serve cones rank among the veterans’ favorite creature comforts — it represents a way for friends to sit and share a smile and reminisce about the past,” said Jan Smith, director of volunteer services. “It’s an expense not covered by the state.”
Ray Cook, who has volunteered as a race official every year since the event began, was excited to see a professional timing service utilized, as it afforded him the opportunity to participate for the first time as a runner.
“It was an outstanding race...both the 5K and 10K courses are excellent routes,” he said. “We have a very patriotic community, and this is a great way to support our Veterans in a fun way.”
Cook won first place in the 5K male 65 and older group, and his wife Patricia, also a decade long race volunteer, won first place in the 10K female 60 and older group.”
VAL is the sole nonprofit dedicated to providing for the social, moral, physical and educational welfare of veterans living at the home.VAL’s all volunteer board ensures there are no administrative fees.