News: 5K run supports Duke Memorial
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan — As most of the United States geared up to celebrate Memorial Day, soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, celebrated slightly differently than the traditional barbeque.
They held a fundraising 5K race at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, May 30. More than 300 people participated in the run, which started at 5:30 a.m.
In addition to celebrating Memorial Day, the run raised money for the Duke Association, which is building a memorial for the soldiers of the 3rd BCT, 1st Inf. Div., TF Duke, who have fallen in combat since 9/11.
The memorial is being built at TF Duke’s home station of Fort Knox, Ky.
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Alicia Rodriguez, the non-commissioned officer-in-charge of the brigade aviation element with the 3rd BCT, 1st Inf. Div., TF Duke, and a native of Las Vegas was one of the run’s main organizers.
“I like to run and other people like to run, so I thought it would be the perfect way to raise money,” Rodriguez said.
A limited amount of race T-shirts were available for a $10 donation, Rodriguez said.
By the morning of the race, they had raised over $2,000, she said.
U.S. Army Maj. Melissa Bembeneck, the brigade aviation officer with the 3rd BCT, 1st Inf. Div., TF Duke, and a native of Burlington, Mass., said the race was a great way to support the cause.
“It’s important for the family and friends back home to have a memorial for their loved ones,” Bembenek said. “I think it says a lot about the brigade to have that.”
Bembeneck placed 2nd in the female category of the race.