September 13, 2006

Stonewall Brigade assists with Special Olympics Fall Fest

By Capt. Tim Brooke
116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

Brandon Strickler waves a checkered flag to begin the 5K race around Gypsy Park to benefit the Special Olympics. (Photo by Capt. Tim Brooke, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)

STAUNTON, Va. - For the second year in a row the Stonewall Brigade hosted a 5K run at Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton as part of the area five Special Olympics super bowl of fund raising events. Special Olympics athletes train year round to be their best. Special Olympics build skills, confidence, and self-esteem not just for the athletes, but for everyone involved.

The 11th annual Fall Fest organizer is Patti Strickler. According to Strickler, the 2005 Fall Fest brought in $9,000, part of $20,000 worth of contributions with local businesses making up the remaining contributions for a $40,000 annual budget.

This year Capt. Jennifer Martin, the brigade logistics officer, drew upon her considerable organization skills, with the assistance of several Headquarters Company soldiers, to host a 5K run to benefit the Special Olympics.

Not only did the Soldiers assist with the run but they also provided manpower for several game booths and a static display of a HUMVEE along with a variety of military hardware.

When asked how the Special Olympians reacted to the presence of Soldiers, Capt. Martin stated, “The athletes are so excited to see the uniforms.”

She added that her goal was make the community aware of how the guard supports the community and to raise $800 for the Special Olympics.

The Fall Fest is an annual event each second weekend of September. The 5K starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday. The festival lasts until 8 p.m. on both days.

The festival offers games for kids, baked goods, concession stands, live music and a variety of local crafts.

Jonathan Allen, of Robert E. Lee High School won the 5K race with Cadet Brent Barrowes, of Headquarters Company 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, finishing second. Barrowes attends Southern Virginia University.

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