By WAYNE JOSEPH
On an overcast typical Hilo morning with a light drizzle, more than 150 participants showed up Sunday to take part in the Veterans Day 5K run/walk around scenic Hilo Bayfront.
The annual event got under way with a tribute of the blowing of taps on trumpet by Paul Arceo, the Hawaii County Band leader. It provided a somber reminder to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our country. In attendance Sunday were active military, veterans and non-military.
There was such a variety of runners and walkers all coming out in support of our military. There were people ranging in age from 5 to 90 years young.
Later there would be a reading of Mayor Billy Kenoi’s proclamation by Jerry Chang thanking those men and women who made sacrifices. He thanked those who came out to organize the run/walk and continue to honor those who risk their lives in defense of this great country.
In the 5K, the overall winner was a pair of high school runners in Hilo’s Steven Hunter of Hilo and St. Joseph’s Andrew Langtry coming in first and second, respectively.
Hunter won the race in a time of 17 minutes, 33 seconds with Langtry trailing 25 seconds behind.
“I came out today to honor the vets and the service they gave to this country,” Hunter said. “My dad spent 22 years in the Navy.”
Langtry echoed the same sentiments saying, “I raced today in support of our veterans and to support Big Dog and what he has done for the running community.”
Third was Gabriel DeRego (20:20) and fourth Dyson Sato (20:22).
First for the women was Pam Gandy, fifth overall, who had just moved back to the Big Island five weeks ago from Florida.
“This was a great way to show my support for the vets and what they have done for their country,” Gandy said. “The course along Bayfront was beautiful and I absolutely love the scenery. The weather totally cooperated and was perfect for a run.”
The second overall woman was Heather Rosario, sixth overall, nearly 50 seconds behind Gandy.
Paul Hanson, 76, finished in 41:04, and had spent 21 years in the Air Force. Hanson was on his way to Kilauea Military Camp where he would participate in another Veterans Day event in full uniform.
Thanks to volunteers like Faith Nance, who made Gray Ribbons for the participants who represent Brain Cancer as the Pink Ribbons have become known for Breast Cancer.
“I want to make Grey Ribbons as well known as the Pink Ribbons and bring public awareness for survivors and their families of brain cancer,” Nance said.
Also thanks to Keith Aoki of Anheuser-Busch for making the Veterans Day banners and for supplying Vidration Sports Drinks to the finishers.
Thanks to KTA Super Stores for providing a sheet cake in honor of our Veterans.
Jerry Chang came forward to provide the refreshments for the third year in a row and this time he was helped by Clift Tsuji and Dennis Onishi.
It takes all kinds of volunteers to put on a race and the organizers are greatly appreciative of the many people that have stepped forward to honor our military.
Waiakea High School Key Club provided man power, like they do every year, under the leadership of Kari Sato, to help make this event a success.
Paul Okubo provided the expert timing for this event, like he has done for all Big Dog events over the years.
I am so blessed to have so many friends and sponsors for these events because I wouldn’t be able to host them without the communities outpouring of generosity.
Thanks to a very supportive wife, Randee, who encourages me to hold events like the Veterans Day 5K, waking up early and providing total encouragement and support along the way. And for this event my daughter, Jaclynnn, was also on hand with her photo taking skills.
Thanks to everyone who volunteered to make the Veterans Day run/walk a huge success.
And someday should you happen to see an Army veteran with a lot to be grateful for, remember to say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”