Vet group puts fun into 5K color run; volunteers needed

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PALMDALE, Calif.—The Antelope Valley non-profit group working to prevent veteran homelessness is seeking volunteers and runners who are ready to “show their colors” on May 19.

The 2019 5K run will enable Vets4Veterans to continue developing its mission to prevent veteran homelessness and assist the college educations of Antelope Valley troops who have served in our nation’s armed services.

The 5K “Color Blast Fun Run” races out of the blocks at 8 a.m., May 19, at Pelona Vista Park at 37800 Tierra Subida Avenue in Palmdale.

“Runners have a ball when they race through a cloud of brightly colored powder and turn into racing flashes of color,” Vets4Veterans Board Member Carol Rice said. “It just adds a whole new dimension of fun to a 5K run.”

The runner’s field was crowded last year, and it led to the opening of the group’s half-way home for a transitioning military family.

Getting the Operation Restart Home open culminated a nearly 10-year development goal of the Antelope Valley-based non-profit. The program houses a veteran’s family — or two veterans as housemates — for six month transitional stays, or up to a year.

Volunteers for the 5K Color Run are needed to help sustain the initiative.

“What we need now are a bunch of community volunteers who love our veterans, and who are ready themselves to have a fun time,” Vets4Veterans President Tom Hilzendeger said. “When people give of themselves, they never regret it, and there is a lot of enjoyment in getting the prep work done for a big event like this.”

Vets4Veterans is a local 501(c)3 charitable organization, is in its 10th year of supporting veterans through scholarships, counseling, immediate needs assistance and the acquisition of a temporary housing solution for at-risk veterans and their families.

“The men and women who go into harm’s way to protect our country deserve access to all programs that may assist them to live better,” said Hilzendeger, himself a Vietnam War veteran.

“We realized we can help the most when we do it ourselves, with our own communities’ resources,” Hilzendeger said.

This year’s event is for veterans, veteran supporters, and also for families, children, civic service groups, sports trainers, competitive runners, casual joggers, active military, First Responders and “anyone who wants to have a really good time as the summer good times begin to roll,” Hilzendeger said.

Registration is $35 for Super Patriots (includes: Race Shirt, Dog Tag, Sunglasses, and Bandana. $25 for Patriots (includes Dog Tag, Sunglasses, Bandana) and free Mini-Patriots (Infants, Toddlers, up to 5 years with paid adult (includes Bandana).
 
Vets 4 Veterans is a local, 501(c)3 non-profit, whose mission is to empower local veterans, who suffer the physical and psychological wounds of war, to successfully reintegrate into the life of their community. Vets4Veterans awards scholarships for higher education, providing interim housing for veterans attending college or other job training, assessing and granting assistance in cases of financial hardship or immediate family need, and offering PTSD Counseling and Art as Healing group.

The group assists where possible, frequently helping with rent, groceries, and other necessary expenses. Vets4Veterans works closely with Antelope Valley College, and the Antelope Valley Vet Center, and Vietnam veteran Gerry Rice, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in PTSD counseling.

Proceeds from the color runs stay local and go toward the Operation Restart Programs of assisting local veterans in times of need. Vets 4 Veterans awards seven scholarships annually, through the Antelope Valley College Foundation, to local veterans at AVC.  

To make reservations, volunteer or be a sponsor, call Hilzendeger at 661-714-0454, or visit www.avvets4veterans.org/run. You can also search for 5K runs near Palmdale, Calif., on www.Active.com. To volunteer, contact jodi@avvets4veterans.org.