4th Annual 4 the Wounded 5k a Success!

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The University of Virginia Foundation, with the support of the Charlottesville Track Club, hosted its 4th Annual 4 The Wounded 5K (4TW5K) race in the University of Virginia Research Park on Saturday, June 7, 2014, benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.

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Sal Gonzalez, a veteran of the Iraq war, was on-hand to address race participants. Sal was injured by an IED resulting in the loss of his left leg. He is part of Warriors Speak, a spokesperson program that helps the Wounded Warrior Project promote the needs of injured military personnel (both physically and emotionally) returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) provides programs and services to tens of thousands of service men and women who have been injured in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many suffering traumatic brain injuries, amputations, and severe burns, which retire them from service. These programs and services include benefits like counseling, family assistance, internships and much more, to ease their burdens and aid in the transition back to a successful civilian life. For more information on the WWP, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.

According to the Charlottesville Track Club, the 4TW5K has quickly gained notoriety and is now the 5th largest road race in the region. Over 1,500 runners registered for the race and close to 1,300 walked and ran the event.

Race day events included an all-terrain (on/off road) 5K, kids fun run and a post-race Expo at Dabney Grove Pavilion, at the finish line. The expo included food and beverages, music, and an awards presentation for the top finishers.DSC_2595

Through the generosity of many sponsors, fundraising efforts have been amazingly successful and the event surpassed its goal of $115,000. Combined with the funds raised in previous years, nearly $400,000 have bee raised for Wounded Warrior Project.

ACAC Fitness & Wellness Centers returned as the lead, presidential sponsor and also organized the kids’ fun run. Walmart, also a sponsor for four years, provided all water and food, and encourages employees to volunteer and rewards their time with an additional corporate donation to Wounded Warrior Project.

“This race, the beneficiary, and the unwavering support we receive from sponsors and volunteers alike continue to surpass our wildest expectations,” says Deborah van Eersel, Chief Administrative Officer for the UVA Foundation. “With soldiers from NGIC parking cars, a color guard, the national anthem performed by the Burley Bearettes – Burley Middle School’s concert choir, fire trucks and flags, music before, during and after the race, and nealry 1,300 racers, this morning promises an all-around great vibe!”

Over twenty representatives of firms located in the UVA Research Park and in the north 29 community serve on the 5K Organizing Committee. “Without their dedication and commitment to this race and cause, this event would not be possible,” notes van Eersel.

The final fundraising tally and check will be presented to Wounded Warrior Project on July 25 during Fridays After Five at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion in downtown Charlottesville. The event is free and open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend.

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