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MILITARY MATTERS: Run Across Georgia Begins, Helping Local Veterans

Running Cross America
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Published: May. 26, 2022 at 5:57 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Before COVID, people or teams ran or bicycled from Savannah to Columbus for a full decade, helping veterans in the Chattahoochee Valley in the process.

Run Across Georgia is back again, an adventure that starts in Tybee Island near Savannah and ends in downtown Columbus on the Sunday before Memorial Day. For the second year in a row, it will be 277.2 miles,

“So to be able to bring it back again, see the numbers grow and excitement, means so much to our organization and our veterans,” House of Heroes Executive Director Susan Wood said.

The two beneficiaries of this event are the one she leads, House of Heroes Chattahoochee Valley chapter - which does minor repairs for military and public safety vets - plus faith-based MercyMed of Columbus for the underserved.

The ones who are raising the money are the 70+ participants, 3 of them attempting the run challenge solo and have already started, others splitting up the running or biking miles.

“We have competitive teams that are 8 person, non-competitive that are 12 or 16-person teams,” Run Across Georgia Race Director Kena Yutz said.

“This (running, biking) is their best way to raise money for our organization. A lot of them may have a military husband or have someone that’s in the military, maybe a family member,” Wood said.

Military supporter and current race director Kena Yutz did Run Across Georgia solo three different years herself.

“For me (running solo across GA), it was huge to know I could raise some money, contribute in a way that was in my wheel house,” Yutz told us.

Speaking of houses, Wood explains where you donation would go if you give to runners, teams, as they support House of Heroes, and ultimately local military families in need.

She explained, “Simple things like cutting grass, to painting, to building a ramp, to harder jobs too when we can have skilled volunteers come out.”

“House of Heroes, I’ve seen roofs they’ve replaced, floors the’ve cleaned, they do a lot of amazing things for people who really, really need help,” Yutz added/

“We try to budget anywhere from $1500-2500 per project, some take more, some take less,” Wood told us.

Susan Wood, who’s father fought in World War II, says money from Run Across Georgia has sponsored half of their home projects during the 12 years the event has happened.

Yutz said, “It’s huge for the community. Last year, we pulled together $34,000 in donations, so we’d like to beat that this year, but continually grow.”

“You don’t have to run to donate, You can still donate to us,” Wood reminded us.

If you’d like to give to these causes, click here.

Full disclosure, my son is running it too, raising money for these causes through his team “RoadRunners” and you can give on their behalf here.

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