News: Skateboarders push 12 miles for wounded troops
Story by Lance Cpl. Erica Kirsop
SAN DIEGO - Skateboarders from as far away as Colorado traveled to Robb Field Skate Park in San Diego to skate 12 miles to raise funds for wounded veterans.
Approximately 40 professional and amateur skateboarders pushed through the rain on a 12-mile course around Mission Bay for the 3rd annual “Skate for the Troops” event and raised $400 for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, Nov. 12.
Derek Smith, a former Marine and professional skater for Honey Skateboards, drove from Colorado to host the event.
“I always loved going to these kinds of events and decided I wanted to host my own a few years ago,” said Smith. “I wanted mine to be different though, so I made it a charity fund-raiser. Because I used to be in the Marine Corps, I wanted to do a charity that helped my brothers and sisters in the military.”
After exploring multiple different military-based charities, Smith chose the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund for its ties to the Marine Corps and continued assistance for the veteran community.
“Our organization is a non-profit that helps disabled veterans find adaptive housing, vehicles and alleviates immediate financial pressures,” said Laura Castellvi, a community outreach coordinator with the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. “We are so thankful Derek created this event. It is amazing to see so many people whom are willing to help people in need who they don’t even know.”
While many of this year’s participants had joined the push last year, there were many new faces present.
“I wasn’t able to make it last year, but there was no way I was going to miss it this year,” said Ryan Rogotzke, a friend of Smith, who also drove from Colorado to participate. “This is such a great cause, plus it’s fun. I am so thankful for everything those in the military do, and this is a great way to give back. It is great to see so many people in the community come together, too.”
In addition to the various corporate donations, Abec 11, a skateboard company with ties to Smith, raised over $150 for the cause with an event kick-off party Nov. 11.
While last year’s Skate for the Troops event was a 24-mile push, Smith changed this year’s course to a more convenient and well mapped 12-mile route throughout Mission Bay area.
“We wanted to make it a little easier and prevent people from getting lost this year,” said Smith. “We changed locations to a less trafficked area and ended up with more people agreeing to take part this year.”
Skaters, after more than a two hour trek, ended the route back at Robb Field Skate Park where they started.
At the end of the event, Smith held a raffle where participants won T-shirts, boards, and other merchandise from the various corporate sponsors that donated to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.
“Over all I am really happy with the turnout,” said Smith. “The number of people keeps growing each year we do this. It is really awesome that everyone came out to support the Semper Fi Fund and everyone that it helps. I am just really grateful for those who serve and am glad we can help out.”
Smith plans to continue hosting the Skate for the Troops event each year. For more information about upcoming events contact him at Derek@honeyskateboards.com or to donate to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund visit http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fsemperfifund.org%2Fdonate.php&h=qAQHK7HvL.