Several years ago I ran into Officer John Collins, a friend of mine on the Chattanooga Police Force, and we spent some time catching up on current events and local happenings. John is a big Chicago Cubs supporter, so there is always an opportunity to discuss the merits of losing— but like most Cubs fans, he maintains a reserve of endless optimism that “next season” may be the one to make history. As a nation who typically cheers for the underdogs, I suppose we’re all hoping that Chicago catches a break during our lifetime.
John had an idea he wanted to share with me, “Let’s organize a run to help raise money for a good cause.” Since we produce themed events and festivals at the Chattanooga Market every weekend, this sounded like a great idea. We talked further, and decided that two charities should benefit from our efforts: the SGT Tim Chapin Memorial Scholarship Fund, and the Fort Campbell Fisher House (a Ronald McDonald house-like organization for our military and their families). John wanted to honor his fallen friend, and I wanted to honor my own family member who is an active military officer.
We met with the Chattanooga Track Club to help us organize and certify the 8K race, worked the leadership of the Fraternal Order of Police and Chattanooga Fire Departments to create a unique route which starts and ends at the Market, circles the National Cemetery and finishes on the 50-yard line at Finley Stadium. The Market covers all of the staff/insurance costs, and the Fraternal Order of Police provides volunteer officers to help close the course to traffic and maintain a safe event. We extend a special thanks to SGT Austin Garrett for providing us with his expertise for the past several years.
The 3rd Annual Run of Honor 8k will be held this year on Sunday, September 11th, which is fittingly, the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11. If you’ve never passed by the National Cemetery in the early morning hours, you are missing out on a humbling and moving experience. Many don’t know that our National Cemetery is the second largest in the nation (only Arlington is larger), is on the National Register of Historic Places and the first Medal of Honor recipients are interred here in Chattanooga.
I hope that you can join us to help honor those who have sacrificed for our freedoms.