Airmen help local elementary kick start Yee Haw Fun Run
Roughly 20 Airmen volunteered to help Cartwright Elementary School successfully host the Yee Haw Fun Run, which coordinator Lorain Marquez, 5th grade teacher, hopes will become an annual event.
â€œWeâ€™re hoping to have a second annual,â€ Marquez explained. â€œThere will definitely be changes, but I think this has turned out pretty good.â€
Marquez said she was excited to have Airmen from Luke help volunteer for the event, but not nearly as thrilled as the elementary school children.
â€œThe eighth grade kids are so excited to have Airmen here, seriously,â€ Marquez said. â€œThe kids think theyâ€™re celebrities. When they found out the Airmen were coming they all wanted to get autographs. The military gives the children someone to look up too so much.â€
Throughout the day Airmen manned the various stations and motivated the students as they made their way through a labyrinth of muddy obstacles that included a Slip â€˜n Slide and rope swing, among many others. Later in the afternoon the Airmen raced with eighth grade students as a local firefighter sprayed them with a hose from his truck. The Airmen also taught the children how to fold an American flag in honor of fallen service members.
â€œI like doing volunteer events for just about anything,â€ said Senior Airman Susan Franklin, a 22-year-old with the 56th Maintenance Operation Squadron. â€œItâ€™s fun to come out and get involved with the community.â€
Senior Airman Michael Emerson was just as excited to volunteer at Cartwright Elementary.
â€œItâ€™s great to support the local community,â€ said Emerson, a 26-year-old with the 56th Operations Support Squadron. â€œIâ€™ve helped out elementary schools before. This is the second time in this area. I love helping out with kids, and Iâ€™m here to help there be a successful fun run.â€
Marquez said the idea to host a fun run at her elementary school came after she participated in the Arizona Spartan Sprint in February. She said a group of kids wanted to do the event with her but because of logistical and financial reasons couldnâ€™t make the trip to Chandler to participate. So, she decided to create an after school run club, and after noticing the runners dedication to fitness decided to reach out to Spartan Race and Rock Star Boot Camp organizers to help host a fun run.
Toward the end of the fun-filled and eventful day, Airmen and other volunteers carried Yaneli Rios through the obstacle course. The eighth grader is a disabled girl who has no use of her legs and limited use of one arm. The crowed of children and volunteers cheered wildly as 14-year-old made her way through the final leg of the course â€“ a fitting end to a day dedicated to disadvantaged youth.