What started out with a small group of volunteers and about forty runners and walkers on a cold rainy Sunday morning morphed into a full committee along with additional volunteers and 250 participants.
Freedom Steps is not just a 5k walk/run where a group of avid runners and walkers get together for a stroll. This event is a heartfelt tribute to those men and women who are on the front lines defending our country and the freedoms we hold so dear.
Ask any volunteer, committee member, or participant and they can tell you a story of someone who served in the military or is currently serving. Some of the stories are heart wrenching, others fill you with pride; no matter what each story has a special contribution to this event.
Freedom Steps’ mission is simple: to raise awareness of our armed forces, support them at home and abroad, and to remind them that there are numerous people at home keeping them in their thoughts and prayers.
Freedom Steps initially started in September 2008 after the Willow Grove VFW Post 3612 received a PA state grant that they decided to use for an event to benefit soldiers, especially those that are currently serving overseas. Former VFW Post Commander Ralph Storti approached me for some ideas of what I thought the VFW could do that might be fun to involve the community and at the same time incorporate the VFW’s mission of troop support.
So, one evening I sat on my living room couch and began to brainstorm some ideas, logos, and images of what I thought the VFW could do. I presented Ralph, Post Commander Harry Lynd, and other VFW officials with the idea of a 5k run/walk for the troops and name it "Freedom Steps."
Each step that a participant takes can be done because of the freedoms we are provided in this country … those very freedoms protected by our military.
And with that the journey began to reach out to local businesses for sponsorships and donations, contacting running clubs and organizations to be put on their calendars.
As Freedom Steps approaches its 5-year anniversary, it is my hope to continue this event as long as necessary.
I sit back and am in awe of all the support we received and continue to receive from local businesses and a great community. We could not have come this far without your support and dedication to this cause.
As of April 1, 2012 Freedom Steps has shipped 135 boxes to our deployed troops. These boxes are not the small priority size the post office supplies, rather they are larger boxes that range in weight from 15-60lbs each.
Let’s just say mail call gets pretty interesting when these men and women receive such large packages! But the huge smile that comes across their face is all we need to know that we accomplished our mission!
Freedom Steps’ 5 year anniversary will be celebrated at our annual 5k event on Sunday May 6, 2012.
Runners and walkers are welcomed to participate in the event at Masons Mill Park. Registration begins at 8am with the race starting at 9am. Prior to and following the race, there will be a brief ceremony to kick off and conclude the event. If you have any questions visit our website at www.freedomsteps5k.com, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FreedomSteps or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to see you there to enjoy a day of fun but also to support and show our appreciation for all those serving in our military.