Fox TV’s Weather Anchor, Sue Serio and the Phillie Phanatic will headline this year’s 7th Annual Walk for the Wounded, a hugely successful fundraiser for Operation First Response (OFR) taking place on May 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rose Tree Park in Media.
OFR works directly with wounded soldiers in crisis, many of whom have had their lives changed forever as they deal with severe burns, organ damage, amputations, and painful surgeries. More than 93 percent of all funds raised go directly to these soldiers and their families, and PECO/EXELON along with more than 60 other event sponsors hope that this year’s donations will help OFR surge past the one million dollar mark.
To help reach that fundraising goal, anticipated crowds of 4-5,000 people will be able to participate in a 2-Mile Walk as well as a brand new Warriors 5K Run. There will also be donation tables, raffles, great food vendors, a 5-band Classic Music Fest plus family-oriented activities including mini-golf, climbing walls, children’s games, and special ceremonies honoring wounded veterans and families being helped by OFR funding and services. Several very moving presentations are also planned including a ‘Stand and Be Counted’ POW RALLY that will take place at 11 a.m. in the Flag Courtyard of Rose Tree Park.
While veterans and active military from as far away as Connecticut, Ohio and North Carolina are expected to come and help OFR in their 7th annual fundraising effort, they are also coming to show support for our nation’s last remaining POW, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, still being held captive by the Taliban, after more than four years.
According to Tore Fiore, Executive Director of Delaware County’s Brandywine Conference and Visitors Bureau, “This bureau proudly helps sponsor this event each year because Operation First Response never forgets the needs of our wounded soldiers – and by coming to this event, each of us can show we will never forget Sgt. Bergdahl until he is brought home.”
Nick Constantino, a Broomall resident and senior advisor for OFR believes the POW RALLY will be as moving as the special presentations by military guests and wounded veterans.
“US Army Airborne Ranger Sgt. Robert Gordon is this year’s keynote speaker,” Constantino announced. “Sgt. Gordon served three tours overseas, was awarded multiple medals and was recently diagnosed with a very rare cancer that will require ongoing medical treatments and may still, in the end, cost him his life.”
“We encourage everyone to come out and meet Sgt. Gordon,” he added, “and to support thousands of our military men and women facing equally daunting circumstances, by making a donation, walking, or running.”
New This Year
In addition to the POW rally, there are two more new activities:
At the Music Fest you can listen to great local bands throughout the day including Relixx, Bucket List, Green Machine, Tongue n’ Groove, and Full Throttle. The band schedule is 9 to 11 a.m., and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
The 5K Warriors Run debuts with professional timing services by Pretzel City Sports of Reading. Trophies will be awarded for top overall male and female times. Dog tags will be awarded to the top three in each age group category: 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60+. Nominal fee includes event T-shirt. (There is no fee to participate in the WALK). There is no age restriction for the WALK, but the minimum age for running is 13, and anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign a waiver
To make a donation or to register for the Walk or Run, visit www.operationfirstresponse.org.