JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — The Joint Base Balad First Four Council sponsored the first-ever "Run for A Reason" 5K to raise awareness and funds for the Fisher House Foundation, while promoting fitness and morale at JBB Aug. 8.
"My intent was to start a legacy that would impact everyone on base," said Senior Airman Jamael Skeete, 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection journeyman and FFC president. "At my first base, I volunteered at the Fisher House. After learning about the charity, I decided it would be a great organization for us to represent here at JBB. Also, a 5K gives us a great boost in morale and fitness. We can see where we stand prior to our [physical training] tests, while getting to spend time together in a less hectic, non-work setting."
The Fisher House Foundation builds homes on the grounds of major military and Veterans Affairs medical centers, enabling servicemembers to be close to their families while they are hospitalized. To date, the foundation has helped more than 120,000 families, saving them an approximate $105 million in travel and hospital costs.
Before the run began, Kenneth Fisher, the Fisher House CEO and nephew of founder Zachary Fisher, personally addressed the crowd of runners.
"My friends asked me why I was coming back to Iraq," said Fisher, who visited JBB and surrounding forward operating bases in 2006. "I returned because of the men and women serving the nation with distinction, who have offered to do a benefit for the Fisher House Foundation in theater — which has never happened before."
Each participant who completed the five-kilometer run, which kicked-off at 6 a.m., received a Fisher House Foundation patch. The first 50 finishers were awarded a Fisher House Foundation t-shirt.
While cash contributions totaled $1,070 by the end of the race, additional donations may be made through www.active.com/donate/1st4forFisherHouse. They can also be given directly to Senior Airman Brittany Lovebryant at building 8400, room 24 until Aug., 31.
JBB's goal is to contribute a total of $5,000.
"This foundation has been blessed," said Fisher. "We've had some really tremendous days, but this -- by far -- is the best. Having men and women deployed in theater take time out of their busy and stressful day to do this for us is probably the most incredible thing I have ever heard of in my time with the association. We look forward to the day that the foundation is no longer needed. But until then, we'll continue to be here for those who do."
More information on the Fisher House Foundation is available at http://www.fisherhouse.org/