Who is the hero in your life? What ways do you honor them?

On Sunday, August 20th, over 200 people participated in the fourth annual Montana Warrior Run to honor their heroes and pay special tribute to America’s veterans.

Nine volunteers from Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s Bridge to Wellbeing program participated, including Russ Palmer, a Bridge presenter and Montana Warrior Run co-director.

“It’s a run that deeply touches people. Nobody quits. Everyone finishes. We would wait there all day for the last person to come across the finish line,” Palmer said.

Many veterans were present, including a Navy SEAL who lost his legs overseas and completed the 5K using a hand-driven bicycle. Others ran the 8.5 mile course, which includes four hill climbs and is purposely difficult and grueling to honor the sacrifice members of the military have made, and continue to make.

“Through sweat and tears, participants honor what these guys have gone through,” Palmer said.

Amanda Sebastian, Bridge’s national partnerships manager, participated in the Warrior Run with her father, a decorated Vietnam veteran.

“We were each asked to write the name of a veteran to honor on a yellow ribbon that we would wear and then place on the Honor Pole at the halfway point of the race,” Sebastian recalled. She chose to walk in honor of her grandfather.

“He served overseas in World War II,” Sebastian said. “He’d have been so proud to be a part of this race. Through this remembrance, he got to be.”

Veterans in the race were met at the finish line by recently retired service members. They then exchanged military coins as a symbol of respect for each other’s service and sacrifice.

“There was a line of veterans there to shake my Dad’s hand,” Sebastian explained. “When he landed on U.S. soil following his tour in Vietnam, he was spit on and sworn at by those who disagreed with the war. These moments finally provide a proper welcome home that our veterans deserve.”

Helping to build and support community is why AFP Foundation and Bridge to Wellbeing sponsors events like the Montana Warrior Run.

Commenting on AFP Foundation’s participation in the warrior run, Palmer said, “I can’t even begin to express how I feel about your team’s involvement…You made a big impact with everyone involved.”

“It was a fantastic event. Our volunteers had a great time running, walking and supporting our vets. I encourage you to join us at this and other events throughout the year,” said Henry Kriegel, Montana Outreach Director for the Bridge to Wellbeing project.

Proceeds from the run went to the Robert Pearson American Legion Post 117 in support of US veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bridge plans on co-sponsoring the run again next year.

Find out more information here on how to become part of this wonderful event and honor the hero in your life next year.

If you’re in Montana and want to participate in Bridge’s next community-building event, “Know Your Rights” register here. We’d love to see you!