300+ runners brave bitter cold to honor veterans

November 10, 2017 05:47 PM

CLIFTON PARK - The cold and wind couldn't keep more than 300 people from toeing the line for the 10th annual Shenendehowa Veterans Day Dash. That includes NewsChannel 13's Jim Kambrich and Benita Zahn.

It's a race we've been doing for years because of the opportunity it affords us, along with the community, to honor those who've served.

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"We dedicate our efforts in the race today to all the men and women who honorably served," declared John McKenna.

He knows well about service. His son John, a Marine, made the ultimate sacrifice in 2006 in Iraq.

McKenna's words gave way to the singing of the National Anthem. It was all a run up to the run where flags were held high by runners, insuring those who've worn the uniform get the recognition they deserve.

"My grandfather's a veteran. I have some veterans in my family and it's just something that's important to me. It's just a way to give back," explained Nick Verdile.

He runs for "Team Red, White and Blue," dedicated to helping vets reintegrate into their civilian lives through exercise.

"It's very important to recognize our veterans for the sacrifice that they do for our country and their service to recognize and honor them for all their bravery and courage that they show," pointed out Verdile.

Ryan Milton from Saratoga Springs agrees. In the Air National Guard since 2002, he often races, carrying the stars and stripes.

"This flag is a promise that no mater your views, no matter your stance on any issue, it's a promise that you get to have those views and it's the service members who fight for that promise, to keep that promise alive," noted Milton.

Among the more than 300 runners on the blustery day, upwards of 30 veterans. That's the largest veteran contingent so far say race organizers.

They run shoulder to shoulder with neighbors of all ages, of all stripes, who put one foot in front of the other as their way of saying, "Thank you, we appreciate you, we honor you." 

"It's just my way of giving back to those that have come before me. If I'm at a race and there's one veteran in the crowd that sees me carrying it and feels moved and feels honored, then I've done my job," concluded Milton.

More than $5,000 was raised at Friday's event. It goes to supporting the Shen Track Booster Club and STRIDE, which provides adaptive sports opportunities in the community.

By the way, for the first time since we started running this race, Jim sprinted by me with about 20 yards to go.


Benita Zahn

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