Inaugural 5K Race On October 6 Will Raise Awareness for Veteran Suicide Prevention
As an avid runner, Jay Eiteljorge has taken part in a multitude of runs and even participated as a volunteer in several. Many were held to benefit organizations, but it wasn’t until he became aware of Mission 22 that Eiteljorge considered organizing an event for a cause. Through his hard work, support of others and a partnership with Financial Center First Credit Union, the inaugural Run for Hope, a 5K and one-mile run to raise awareness about veteran suicide prevention, will be held October 6 at Fort Harrison State Park.
Mission 22, a non-profit organization, gets its name from the statistic that an average of 22 military veterans commit suicide each day. It provides veteran treatment programs for post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. Through its Ambassador volunteer program, the public is educated on veteran issues and events are organized to raise money for veteran aid.
“Last November, I attended a Veteran’s Day event sponsored by the Fishers Running Club,” Eiteljorge says. “Sarah Sparks spoke to the group about Mission 22’s efforts to reduce veteran suicides. Although I personally don’t know anyone who has committed suicide, I have a lot of family members and friends that have served in the military. To honor them, I decided to signup and become an Ambassador.”
Eiteljorge began laying the ground work for the event early this year. Fort Harrison State Park was chosen as the location for the run due to its strong military history and its existing park loop path. In February and March, aided by fellow Ambassadors Sparks and Jenn Prado-Fuenmayor, he began seeking additional support within the community.
“Financial Center First Credit Union was at the top of my list to reach out to,” he says. “My wife, Kristen, works there and I know they are involved with other organizations that help veterans. They were really excited about the run from the get-go.
“Mission 22 is a great organization and this is the first year they have done a run in Indianapolis,” adds Financial Center Vice President of Membership Development, Dusty Simmons. “We are excited to be on the ground with them and be the title sponsor of the event. We were founded in 1953 right on Fort Benjamin Harrison, and we continue to support current military personnel and their families. We’ll definitely be on site the day of the run and plan to have a big team out there.”
Run for Hope is family-friendly and features a one-mile untimed run along with a competitive timed 5K. A tee-shirt is included in the pre-registration fees of $15 and $30 respectively. Awards will be given to the top three female and top three male finishers in the 5K. Participants may register on the day of the race, but all fees will increase by $10 and receiving a tee-shirt or medal is not guaranteed. Preregistration packet pickup will be held at the Triton Brewing Company on October 5 from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. There is a $7 parking fee to enter the park which can be waived with a current Indiana State Park Pass.
“I strongly encourage people to get to the park early so they will be ready for the 9 a.m. start,” Eiteljorge says. “I’ve reached out and talked to the office of Mayor Steve Collier and the event is on the mayor’s calendar. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by very supportive people.”
For registration information visit GetMeRegistered.com/Mission22RunForHope.