The Run for Veterans kicked off with local artist Jim Peterick singing the Survivor song “Eye of the Tiger” to motivate the runners. Other events included a push-up challenge. There also was entertainment along each mile of the 3.1-mile race, said organizer Pauline Ozols, executive director of the Oakbrook Terrace-based Run for Veterans.
Ozols said there will be entertainment each mile of the 3.1-mile race. She also noted Run for Veterans is looking to make the packet pickup a unique experience as well.
“We are trying to make the run memorable and different,” she said beforehand. “Our run every year will benefit a nonprofit focused on veterans’ mental health.”
She said money earned for Volunteers of America–Illinois will go to support the agency’s efforts on the South Side of Chicago. The organization runs Hope Manor Apartments, an 80-unit housing program for homeless veterans that includes on-site services and support.
The organization also has broken ground for Hope Manor II, a housing campus for more than 100 veterans and their children.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has given mental health diagnoses to more than 385,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, or more than 52 percent of new veterans who visit the VA.