Sunday, October 22, 2017
5K Fun Run to Help Blaine County Vets
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Amanda Ornelas, Brandee Smith and Genevieve Chase say community response to their inaugural 5K Fun Run has been wonderful.
 
Friday, September 23, 2016
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Genevieve Chase has been in Sun Valley for two years.

And just in the past year she’s learned that a lot of her fellow veterans are facing homelessness. Among them: A young woman and her children who currently live in a camper.

The Sgt. First Class Army reservist, who served in Afghanistan, is not willing to leave her band of brothers behind when it comes to finding safe, affordable housing.

That’s why she has enlisted in the Sun Valley Board of Realtors’ new veterans housing assistance program.

The Sun Valley Board of Realtors Community Foundation recently launched their new program. And they will hold an inaugural 5K Fun Run at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at Hailey’s Lions Park to raise funds and awareness for the program.

Registration is $25 available online at www.5BVeterans.org. Day-of-registrants may check in at 9 a.m. Race day registration is $35. Grumpy’s is providing a post-race lunch with tickets available at registration. Sawtooth Brewery is providing free beer.

A hundred percent of the proceeds from the run will go to provide sustainable housing for local veterans and their families.

“Veterans across the nation, not just locally, sacrifice their lives to protect us,” said Amanda Ornelas, chief executive officer for the Sun Valley Board of Realtors Community Foundation. “By attending the 5K Fun Run, Wood River Valley community members can be a part of providing the most basic needs to our local heroes. We owe them at least that much.”

There are 1,500 veterans in Blaine County, according to the 2010-2014 U.S. Census. And an alarming number of them and their families live below the poverty line, says Chase.

Nationwide the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 1.4 million veterans are deemed at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.

“People tell me we don’t have any vets here. But, just because you don’t know about any doesn’t mean there aren’t any,” said Chase. “In the past few years, there’s been an increasing number of younger vets drawn here by the outdoors. I think more of us will move here for that reason.”

Sun Valley Board of Realtors Community Foundation launched the program after becoming aware of families that do not have adequate housing. And when they set up a booth advertising their effort at the Bellevue Labor Day celebration, a few more vets asked how they might receive assistance.

“Vets are such a proud group of people, they’re not apt to tell you they need help,” said Chase.

The Foundation has received several thousand dollars worth of sponsorship money already. And Home Depot provided another $5,000.

The Realtors have been paying rent for one veteran for the past decade. They’re also looking for working hands.

“We have an aging population so we want a volunteer crew for yard work, for modifications that these veterans might need on their homes,” said Chase.

Founded in 2004 the Sun Valley Board of Realtors Community Foundation provides a variety of programs to improve the quality of life in the Wood River Valley. It’s:

  • Awarded more than $200,000 of scholarships to Blaine County students.
  • Provided $530,000 for food and gifts to more than 400 families each year through its Holiday Baskets program.
  • Contributed $200,000 from realtors to provide air service to Sun Valley through Realtors for Air.
  • Raised $67,000 for local firefighters who saved communities during the Castle Rock and Beaver Creek fires.
  • Provided a $10,000 matching grant for Habitat for Humanity housing program.

SANTA’S COMING. CAN YOU HELP?

The Sun Valley Board of Realtors Foundation is looking for a gym-sized space for its Holiday Basket program the first two weeks of December, as the Hailey Armory is not available this year.

If you can help, call 208-726-7764.

 

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