Runners race for veterans at Wausau Bock Fest - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Runners race for veterans at Wausau Bock Fest

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WAUSAU (WAOW) - More than 1,000 runners braved the cold Saturday to raise money for our veterans.

Saturday's 5K was the 5th annual Bull Falls Bock Fest.

All proceeds went towards the Never Forgotten Honor Flight, an organization that gives area veterans a chance to visit memorials built in their honor in Washington D.C.

Brandy Trunkel of Eau Claire stepped up to the starting line with a photo pinned to her back.

"It's my grandpa, Glen Higgins," Trunkel said. He is a World War II veteran and he did the Honor Flight last year. He passed away this February so i wore it for him."

She says she was thinking about him during her run.

"The World War II veterans are going and going," said Trunkel. "Pretty soon there won't be any left so to think about that he's actually gone was a little bit more to think about on the run."

For five years the race has raised money for the Honor Flight.

"We fly World War II veterans, Korean War veterans and veterans after those two wars to Washington D.C. on a free trip," said Mike Thompson, the Honor Flight's president.

We call it 'a trip of a lifetime.'"

Thompson says more than 1,000 veterans have taken the day trip to our nation's capital.

"Usually they come home and they talk to their family and won't stop talking about it," Thompson said.

He says organizing the flights has given him great respect for America's veterans.

"They were on Porkchop Hill and in the Battle of the Bulge and flying at 30,000 feet over Tokyo, so they're pretty tough old guys," said Thompson.

Bock Fest organizers say they're proud of the cause they've chosen to support.

"I never was in the service, but it's such an honorable thing how many people have given up their time and their lives," said Bob Schirmer, Bock Fest's founder. "You read about it every day and you really don't think it touches you, but it touches every person."

Runners here say this was a special race to start off the road running season.

"Our freedom is why we continue to do this and they fought so hard for us, so it's just an honor," said Mitch Easker of Marshfield.

Honor Flight officials say the Bull Falls Bock Fest has raised about $30,000 in its five years.

They say it's been enough to fly 60 veterans to Washington D.C.
 
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