VFW 5K proceeds will assist veterans, community

NASHUA – With a brisk late summer chill in the air, a group of runners gathered at the Mine Falls Park entrance at Stellos Stadium to participate in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 483’s second annual Family 5K Run/Walk Saturday, which raised money for veterans in need.

While some participants ran the race competitively, there were others who took the jaunt much lighter as they walked alongside friends, family members or their four-legged companions.

However they chose to traverse the 5K route, those who registered for the event were able to enjoy the changing of the seasons, as the rain stayed away but an early morning chill lingered at the start of the race.

The proceeds of from the race will go to several different charities, all geared toward veterans in need and the general community.

Former president of Post 483, Charles Ringleben, said the money could see its way to organizations including the the Veteran Affairs Hospital in Manchester, the Special Olympics and the American Cancer Society.

He noted a particularly local instance when the VFW granted money over the holidays to help a struggling veteran make it through a tough season.

“If a veteran is in need, we have a process where we grant them money. We don’t loan them the money, we grant it to them for such things as heat, fuel (and) food,” Ringleben said. “Last year, we had a veteran in need who wanted to buy Christmas presents for their kids, and we donated a $200 gift card for Sam’s Club so they could buy presents.”

Other local charities and organizations that benefit from the VFW’s fundraising efforts include the Safe Stations throughout the city and Nashua Fire Rescue’s Operation Warm, which helps to provide coats to children in need during the winter months.

With money raised through the 5K and other efforts throughout the year being divided up between different charities and organizers, Ringleben said the hope is that the post will continue to help grow within its local community.

“We’re raising money for the post and we donate to other charities because we’re trying to bring the VFW more into the local community,” said the post’s junior vice commander Katie Boots, who was the lead organizer of the race. “We hope that we can continue to do this every year and more people will come out to support us.”

Boots said despite the chill, she was glad the rain held off and the race was able to take place with such a nice area for the runners to enjoy.

“It’s awesome. The trails are great. There’s no cars, there are no interruptions,” she said of Mine Falls Park. “So, it’s just a nice area to be in.”

Mathew Plamondon can be reached at 594-1244 or mplamondon@nashuatelegraph.com, @telegraph_MatP.