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Dear Friends who have ever had a part in A Hero’s 5k,

If you could peak over my shoulder right now, you would see a picture of my son in full uniform sitting behind the steering wheel of the MRAP he drove in Afghanistan. You would see his maroon beret, camo cap, a pair of combat boots, the Willow figurine “Hero”, and my American Gold Star Mothers patch.

You would also see the difficulty I’m experiencing putting down my thoughts of the last many months.

I believe with all that is in me, just as Solomon wrote, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” And as Geoffrey Chaucer, in the 1300s wrote, “But at the laste, as every thing hath ende…” , I have decided to formally close A Hero’s 5k.

This meaningful event has had a good run since that first race at Furman University in 2011. Hundreds of people signed up each year, and some have participated every year since the beginning.

Races have been held at Furman University, North Greenville University and Greer, South Carolina. For service members who were on deployments, but wanted to be part of AH5k, races took place at their locations. Afghanistan, Germany, and Dover.

Many lives have been changed because of A Hero’s 5k as 100% of the proceeds were donated for the sole purpose of supporting Veterans.

I remember the proceeds from the very first AH5k supported the efforts of Bill Cady to help Veterans who had survived the Battle of Kamdesh.

The second year, part of the proceeds bought a bicycle for a Veteran who was walking many miles between his home and job.

After that, proceeds helped Upstate Warrior Solution go from plans on paper to buying important supplies for their new office space. Over the years, we chose UWS as the recipient because of their Veteran involvement in the Upstate.

The year before last, A Hero’s 5k donated the proceeds to buy a Service Dog for a local Veteran named Scott.

This year, Guiding Reins was chosen as our recipient as they provide equine therapy for Veterans.

Since 2011, A Hero’s 5k has donated well over $100,000 to carefully chosen Veterans organizations in and around Upstate SC.

None of this could have come about without the Volunteers who signed up every year to spend countless hours making each race successful. These Volunteers gave up family time and personal time throughout the year. Then they showed up very early in the dark on the sometimes bitter cold morning of the races to set up before participants arrived.

And none of this could have come about without you, the participants. Without you signing up, A Hero’s 5k would be just a title. And without you signing up and asking others to join you, there would not be A Hero’s 5k donation to give.

I encourage you to keep running or walking or sauntering in nature. Look for other races and look for Veterans who were willing to serve their country for your freedom.

It has been an honor to greet you each year. I thank Heavenly Father for you and want you to know I still

1. Get out of bed every day
2. Take a step every day ….. and I can now walk miles a day!

With sincerity and love,
Debby Bain McCray
Gold Star Mother of SPC Geoffrey A. Whitsitt
Blue Star Mother of MN1 Steven S. Whitsitt