By WAYNE JOSEPH
Winston Churchill once said: “You make a living by what you get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Truer words can never be spoken as we reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving.
I’ve been blessed over the years with many friends and supporters and have never found myself short of money to buy food but there are those not so lucky.
That is why I‘ve been so honored to be the first ever recipient of the Big Island Road Runners Club Thanksgiving Day 5K run/walk.
The BIRR was looking at a way to give back to the community by combining a joint effort to raise money or food for those less fortunate through the Salvation Army. Over 300 runners and walkers participated on Thanksgiving Day and were asked to bring a can good or to make a monetary donation.
Over $641 was raised and six large bins of canned goods went to the Salvation Army during this most critical time of the year.
Despite having Stage 4 terminal brain cancer I am regarded as fully functional and that in itself is indeed a blessing.
As I reflect on the many things, I am thankful for I and appreciate all the many people that care about me.
You see to be functional means I have my wits about me. It means I look forward to waking up every morning at 5 a.m. I am still able to do my five to seven mile walk each day. I can prepare for what the future has in store for me. For some people the end comes instantly, like an accident or a heart attack. For me, I know my time here is limited and I have started to plan for my final days.
I look forward to each day and prepare better for it. I have a deeper enjoyment toward life.
Each day gives me hope and brings me a deeper appreciation for those things that I normally take for granted, like my loving wife and now care giver, Randee.
So, I’m honored that the BIRR would make me a part of their Thanksgiving run/walk as well as making it a benefit for the Salvation Army as a means to raise money and food for those that have so little during this holiday season.
During the 3.1-mile race, it was Hilo High’s Stephen Hunter coming in first overall for the men in 17 minutes, 11 seconds with Waiakea’s Ian McQuate 1-second behind.
“The entire race we were exchanging the lead,” Hunter said. “I had to put on a late kick with 100 meters to go to win the race.”
When asked what he was thankful for on this day, Hunter said: “I am thankful that my family is doing well and that my brother is coming home for the holiday.”
McQuate echoed Hunter’s sentiment and is thankful for his own family and friends.
Following in third place overall was Joe Barcia in a time of 17:55.
“I am thankful for family and friends and especially that my daughter got up early to come down and be a part of the wonderful event,” Barcia said.
In fourth overall was Sven Loeschengruber (17:58) and fifth was St Joseph’s Andrew Langtry (18:06), according to Rick Otani timer for the BIRR event.
Dano Banks, who was on hand to do the 2-mile walk with his wife Marti, said: “I am thankful for my friends, family and good health.”
For the women, it was a pair of Hilo High girls taking first and second place. They also happen to be the best friends, Carmen Garson Shumway in a time of 20:38 and Mehana Sabado-Halpern 10 seconds behind.
In third for the women was Heather Rosario (21:38); fourth Lory Hunter (21:52); and fifth Eqberiela Benito (22:05).
Garson-Shumway noted that she came out to do this run in support of the Big Dog and so did Sabado-Halpern and for raising donations for a great cause the Salvation Army.
So on this typical liquid sunshine day in our hometown of Hilo many folks came out to enjoy a fun filled community event. They all shared the same sentiment of wanting to give back in record numbers to those less fortunate.
And someday should you see a very thankful walker/jogger come climbing up Shower Drive in the early morning hours, remember to say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”
Email the Big Dog at firstname.lastname@example.org.