Ninth Annual Warrior Run


Emma Fogle, Staff Reporter

    More than 200 people participated in the annual Warrior Run on Saturday, Nov. 4, held at Gering’s Legacy of the Plains Museum. Sophomore Tukker Romey and senior Nicole Patton were among those runners, taking first and second respectively in their age class.

   A program started by the Veterans and Military Family Emergency Relief Organization, the Warrior Run raises awareness and funds for the financial needs of veterans.

   Local race coordinator, David Wolf, took over the coordination of the race five years ago, and has been able to raise over $100,000 locally to help fund the organization.  The money stays in the panhandle of Nebraska and portions of eastern Wyoming. Over 95 percent of the proceeds goes to help veterans locally according to Wolf.

    Wolf said that the event was started by Brad Van Pelt of Van Pelt Fencing as a way to help out the Wounded Warriors Project. When Van Pelt heard about the Veterans and Military Family Emergency Relief organization he decided to donate the money to them. Van Pelt decided to pass the torch to Wolf five years ago and he stepped up.

    Wolf, who lost his brother James in Iraq 14 years ago on Nov. 6 found a special connection to veterans that need help and decided to give back in memory of all of the fallen soldiers.

    The organization helps relieve veterans of financial needs. If a veteran has received a disconnection notice from a utility company or is about to be evicted from their home, the group can step in within hours and provide the assistance. They also provide help with job placement, college education advice, Veterans Affair help, and other non- financial assistance

       “We’ve helped with car insurance so they can get to work so they don’t lose their job, and we’ve helped a lot with fuel, electricity, heat, rent, and food,” Wolf said. “We’ve also organized rides for them to go to the VA to get medical treatment, and we help them with education. We do a lot financially, but we also do a lot of non-financial things, too.”

     The goal of the Warrior Run is to be able to meet the many financial needs of veterans in an attempt to help relieve their financial burdens according to Wolf.

    ”We’ve been getting about two to three applications a week. Sometimes we’ll get four or five applications in a week. So there’s definitely a need out there.” Wolf said. “Each approved request has a limit of $500 assistance from the organization.”

    The organization leverages its funds with state, federal, and other local agencies to help spread out the money. Wolf said the Warrior Run will continue until there is no longer a need to help the veterans.

  Over the past nine years, the Warrior Run has grown from 22 participants to just under 300.

      “To make the race better, we have added a time company to keep track of times and places, a kids fun run, and moved our event from the Gering Golf Course to the Legacy of the Plains Museum and Scotts Bluff National Monument,” Wolf said.

    The event is sponsored by the following businesses: Great Western Bank, Webb Orthodontics, Western States Bank, C.W. Yount Foundation, Silver Spur Feeders, KNEB, and Bluffs Broadcasting, the Star Herald, Legacy of the Plains, Van Pelt Fencing, Angela Philbrick at State Farm, Vistabeam, American Legion Women’s Auxiliary Unit 9 in Hemingford, Sandy Macke from Champion Realty, WNCC, Robinson Electric, B & C Steel, Runza Restaurants, Adaptive Resources, Dale’s Tire & Retreading, Fremont Motors, Chaloupka, Holyoke, Snyder, & Longoria, P.C. LLO,

    Medals were handed out to winners in different age divisions. Sophomore Tukker Romey was the winner of the 5k race with a time of 20 minutes, 53 seconds. Senior Nicole Patton placed second with a time of 21:57. Eighth-grader Shailee Patton was third at 22:50. Eli Marez, a Gering seventh grader,  finished first for boys with a time of 21:12.

    “The race was fun. I felt great during the race. Afterwards, I felt the race went amazing. I didn’t care about my time because I ran it for fun,” Romey said.

  “I would definitely say that it is a great feeling being able to support the veterans by doing something I love. I’ve done the warrior run for about four years now and every year it seems to get bigger and more donations are made. It’s actually really cool that even though it is a fun run, that everyone there knows that the race is not really the focus of the event. All the runners and walkers go out there to support the “warriors” in our community that need that help.” Patton said.