By Brandi Makuski
A local emergency fund for military veterans received a little over $4,500 this week, thanks to a 5K event held in July.
The third annual Running of the Flag brought in over 100 participants on July 4. Along with the funds raised, the noncompetitive walk/run saw creative costumes and a lot of patriotism.
Organizer Tim Peltier said that was the whole point.
“It’s just a gratitude you have for the veterans; without them we wouldn’t have our freedom…who knows where we’d be without them and their sacrifices,” Peltier said, adding the event was held on July 4 intentionally, despite an already-full community event calendar on that day.
“Without [veterans] we wouldn’t have a lot of the things we do, so July 4 is the only day that feels right,” he said. “It was a good turnout; hopefully we can see even more people next year.”
Peltier handed over a check of $4,525 to the Portage Co. Veterans’ Service Officer, Mike Clements, on Sept. 28. The money goes into the county’s relief fund for veterans with emergency needs.
Clements said the need is greater than ever.
“I’ve already gone through $14,000 for veterans’ relief,” he said. “That’s the most we’ve ever granted in a calendar year.”
Clements said the funds, which are approved by an independent, three-person commission, help local veterans with any number of emergencies, to include rent/mortgage payments or utility repair, such as a furnace.
The fund gets $4,000 annually from the county’s tax levy, but relies largely on donations, he said.
“With the advent of Guns N’ Hoses, and [Peltier], we’ve been able to build that up,” Clements added. “My marching orders are, ‘We have more money to help veterans, let’s spend it on them; let’s not sit on it.'”
To donate to the fund, or for more information, call the Veterans’ Service Office at (715) 346-1311.