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5K to Support Military Housing

Second annual run to feaure at least 23 wounded warriors.

The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps performs at last year’s McLean 5K. This year’s will raise money for transitional housing for Wounded Warriors at Vinson Hall.

The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps performs at last year’s McLean 5K. This year’s will raise money for transitional housing for Wounded Warriors at Vinson Hall. Photo Contributed

— The streets of downtown McLean will be transformed into a race track Saturday, Oct. 6, as the second annual McLean 5K Run With the Warriors race is held. The event is hosted by Vinson Hall, which is a retirement community that houses more than 200 retired military and government personnel. Their goal

is to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Transitional Housing Project, which will create a series of handicapped-accessible apartments in the complex for wounded service members who have been discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and are being evaluated before returning to active duty.

“We brought a few of the wounded warriors from Walter Reed to examine some of our apartments that are being renovated, to see what sort of modifications can be made,” said Fred Johnson, director of special programs and events at Vinson Hall. “They told us about removing rugs, because they can get caught in prosthetics, about how to make a bathroom more wheelchair accessible, how to adjust

counter heights for ease of use. And every penny raised from this race will go toward this project, to make those apartments accessible for those who need them.”

ONE APARTMENT is already under construction, and there are tentative plans to move a Maine captain in. Johnson believes the environment at Vinson Hall will be helpful for young men and women who are getting used to life after their injury.

“The neat thing is, we have a lot of veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, veterans who have seen terrible things and suffered terrible injuries,” he said. “We have Pearl Harbor, Battle of Normandy, Battle of Midway survivors, who were able to get past their experiences and often thrive, and that’s a good example for them to be around.”

This year’s course will be in downtown McLean, which is a more level environment than in years past. So far 23 wounded warriors are registered for the event, and event organizers are looking for sponsorships for the wounded warrior participants.

“We tried to give people as many opportunities as possible to support the cause, which is clearly a very worthy one,” said Jason Carrier with Century 21, one of the hosts for the event. “If you can’t make it, maybe you want to sponsor a wounded warrior, or Sue Bozgoz, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who coaches soldiers in track, says events like this are part of the road to recovery for injured service members.

“As a coach, I’ve learned that just the act of training for an event like this helps people get past the pain and depression they might be experiencing and give them something to plan and prepare for,” she said.

THE MCLEAN 5K RUN for the Warriors will take place Saturday, Oct. 6, with registration starting at 6:45 a.m. and the race kicking off at 8 a.m. More information, including registration and volunteer information, can be found at www.mclean5k.com.