5k raises awareness for military invisible injuries
By Staff Sgt. John Wilkes, 180th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 19, 2015
Swanton, Ohio -- Service members from the 180th Fighter Wing traded combat boots for running shoes, joining local residents in a 5k race raising awareness about traumatic brain injuries on Oct. 18, 2015.
The "I Believe I Can Fly 5k" kicked off at Toledo Express Airport, Swanton, Ohio, with the national anthem and a flyover from six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 180th FW.
"The purpose of this event is to educate our community," said Pam Hayes, founder of The Arms Forces and coordinator of the event. "What better way to do that than doing something fun and exciting that brings people together?"
The Arms Forces provides education and programs allowing veterans past and present, who have a traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder to find understanding, purpose and direction as they face "the other war" while living at home with their invisible injury.
"There are many veterans with invisible injuries and by putting on events like this we can raise money and awareness to support them," said Hayes.
According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, Active Duty and Reserve service members are at increased risk for sustaining a traumatic brain injury compared to their civilian peers. In 2014, over 25,000 service members were diagnosed with a TBI and approximately 11-20 percent of service members develop some form of PTSD.
Capt. Melanie Grosjean, director of personnel and chairman of the Company Grade Officer Council at the 180th Fighter Wing in Swanton, Ohio has helped coordinate the event since its inception. The Company Grade Officer Council was a main supporter of the 5k.
"It's a great event that gets better every year," said Grosjean. "We get to raise awareness and support our veterans."
"We want to say thank you to everyone who came out today," said Hayes. "This is the second year for the event. Last year we had 326 people run and this year we are already over 400."
By taking part in events like this, service members of the 180th FW joined their fellow community members It gives the men and women of the 180th FW a way to give back to those who give so much to the 180th FW.