Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Veteran’s Day Extra Special to Big Dog

Veteran's on hand for the Vet Day 5K run/walk in Hilo

Last year my wife, Randee, asked me how I wanted to spend my birthday.  “Should we take a trip, spend an evening at a five star hotel or go on a cruise?” she asked.

After thinking long and hard about what really makes me happy and a birthday occasion special, I replied, I’d like to put on a Veteran’s Day run/walk and have all the participants bring something for the Hawaii Food Basket.

Veteran’s Day is a special day to me not only because I’m a Vietnam Vet, but because Nov. 11 happens to fall on my birthday.

Last year more than 100 people showed up to pay tribute to the men and women who have made sacrifices to keep this country free. This year nearly 200 people participated in the run/walk and another 25 plus people came out to volunteer.

“This is a great event,” State House Representative, Jerry Chang said.  “We are here to honor those that served our country and to contribute to our Hawaii Island Food Basket.”

Dr. Joseph D’Angelo

Chang, a veteran himself, gave the opening remarks prior to the start of the race and was followed by Dr. Joseph D’Angelo, who returned last year from a tour of duty in the Middle East.

“Last year I spoke of running in an environment of freedom and not from mortar fire,” D’Angelo said.  “This year I speak about gratitude and the importance of continued family support.”

D’Angelo pointed out the appreciation the troops have of receiving care packages from home. He also spoke of the love for the soldiers when they are gone and upon their return.

“I extend my gratitude to all who support our men and women in uniform as well as supporting the families who remain back home.”

At the start of the 5K run a pair of University of Hawaii at Hilo cross country runners, Zach Johnson and Keoni Ucker, zoomed into the lead followed by Jason Braswell of the Big Island Running Company in Kona.

“I went out fast and tried to keep up with Zach (Johnson) during the first mile,” Ucker said.  “Once I took the lead I separated myself from everyone else as I pushed hard and was never seriously challenged.”

Ucker won in a time of 16 minutes 6 seconds, with Braswell trying to play catch up.

“My Dad is a vet and I wanted to honor him by being here today,” Ucker said.  “In fact both my parents came out to watch me run and this was a way to say thank you to my Dad.”

For Kona’s Jason Braswell and wife Melissa running the race was a good opportunity to be with likeminded people who share a common interest.

“We wanted to be part of this great event and show our support for our Veteran’s,” Braswell said.

Braswell was in the pack with Ucker and Johnson during the first mile and tried to catch Ucker once he separated.

“I was trying to stay with him (Ucker) but wasn’t making much headway,” he said.

Braswell also enjoyed the Hilo weather saying that it was a lot easier to run.

“The weather conditions here were perfect, with no wind, which made for great racing conditions,” Braswell said of his second place finish in 16:36.

Johnson hung onto third, 16:56; and was followed by Justin Pang, 17:20; and Chris Evans, 17:28.

For the women it was another pair of UHH harriers that pulled away from the rest of the ladies field.  Vulcan Kaylene Peric, 19:35; beat out teammate Krista Andrew, 20:01; and was followed by Robyn DeBenedet, 20:07; Melissa Braswell, 21:25; and Lory Hunter, 21:38.

“I wanted to see how well I could do today and to compare today’s time with my time when I last ran this course in August,” Peric said.

Peric finished almost a full minute ahead of her previous time and was pleased with her efforts.

“I’m especially pleased to be a part of this race that honored our Vets and to be able to donate something to the food drive,” she said.

Nine members of the Coast Guard Kiska

Nine members of the Coast Guard Cutter, Kiska, anchored in Hilo were on hand to run the 3.1 mile course.

“We are active duty service members and we have just returned from one year in Iraqi waters,” Lt. Commanding Officer Craig Dente said.  “We wanted to be part of this event that recognizes our military veterans.”

Following the run/walk participants were treated to a bananas, papayas and cookies supplied by Jerry Chang and his group of volunteers.

Hunter Bishop

Hunter Bishop from Mayor Billy Kenoi’s office read a message from the mayor which spoke of our observation of Veterans Day to honor the unselfish dedication of those who have honorably served the cause of freedom in our nation’s armed forces.

“Your ability to compete in this wonderful event is made possible by the sacrifices of those countless veterans whom we honor,” the mayor wrote.  “We recognize and salute the veterans among you, as we also honor our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and mothers and fathers, who continue to serve and protect our nation throughout the world today.”

Members representing a variety of labor unions were also on hand and included representatives from HGEA, UPW, ILWU, SHOPO, HSTA, the Carpenters Union and others in support of our Veterans.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association, headed by Rae Yamanaka, had the largest member group participating and won a special Big Dog award.

The event raised a total of 356 pounds of food and $293 in cash and checks for the Hawaii Island Food Basket.

Mahalo Hilo for your continued support of our troops.

And someday should you happen to see a proud vet come jogging around the Eastside of Hawaii Island remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

Related Links:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/vet-day-5k-reaps-benefit-for-the-hawaii-island-food-basket/

http://www.hawaii247.com/2010/11/11/big-dog-5k-race-honors-veterans-and-helps-the-hungry/

https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/more-photos-from-big-dogs-veterans-day-5k/

https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/group-photos-from-big-dogs-veterans-day-5k/

November 15, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments