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Homeless Heroes run Saturday to benefit veterans

The logo for the Homeless Heroes 5K event scheduled Saturday, Dec. 8, at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. Submitted1 / 2
The Homeless Heroes 5K 2017 committee members Jessica Kruse (left), Nick Johnson, Carissa Meyer and Aaron Stoen pose for a photo at the finish line last year in front of Central Lakes College. Submitted Photo 2 / 2

It is expected to be a high of 25 degrees and sunny Saturday, Dec. 8, when the Brainerd Jaycees presents its third annual Homeless Heroes 5K event.

The Jaycees encourages people to come out and support veterans at the event—whether physically supporting veterans by running or simply donating money to the cause. Proceeds raised in the Homeless Heroes 5K supports the Wounded Warriors-MN of Crosslake, which is a nonprofit charity dedicated to providing financial and emotional support and assistance, respect and honor to veterans and their families. This includes warriors of all wars and generations regardless of where they served, the nonprofit's website stated.

"No veteran deserves to be homeless in America, no wounded warrior deserves anything but our utmost respect and support," organizers stated on the website.

Brainerd Jaycee members Carissa Meyer, Aaron Stoen, Nick Johnson and Jessica Kruse started this event three years ago because they wanted to support veterans.

According to the event website, "The Brainerd Jaycees believe that service to humanity is the best work of life. Who has served us better than the veterans of our great nation? We want to show our appreciation by connecting and uniting veterans of all branches, while raising awareness of the sad truth of homelessness among those who have served our country."

Jerad Schroeder of the Brainerd Jaycees, who is chairing the event, said: "This is an easy group to support. There is a big sense of community amongst veterans and their families in this area. A lot of people in the community support veterans."

Last year, $5,000 was raised at the event and there were about 60 runners. This year they expect to raise about the same amount.

Schroeder said they receive a lot of last minute registrations as people like to wait until closer to the event to register to see what the weather will be like.

"They chose December (as the month to host the event) because the issues faced by those who serve are not seasonal," Schroeder said. "It is true that fundraising can be done all year, but I think that the founders chose December because it represents how the people of Brainerd support vets in all sort of conditions, not just when it is convenient.

"December is also when people start facing financial issues and this event has many people from organizations that provide those resources.

"Many of the people also who run this race are friends or family members of those who serve and they leave the event with resources for providing assistance."

About the race

The race begins 10 a.m. at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. There will be a 5K, a 1-mile and a virtual run. The route of the 5K will start in the back parking lot at CLC, go down West College Drive, over the Mississippi Bridge to Kiwanis Park; and then run along the trail in the park and back to CLC. The mile run will be around the college.

The Virtual Run/Walk was added this year and allows people to run from any location or state on their own time.

The race will be a chipped time event with awards given to the top finishers in each age group.

People can register for the event online at through midnight Thursday.

Schroeder will be at CLC's main entrance 4-7 p.m. Friday to take registrations in person. At that time, people already registered may come to CLC to gather their race packets.

Platinum sponsors of the event are CLC Veterans Resource Center, Run For The Lakes and Culver's Cares.

**This story was updated to correct the amount of money raised for the event. It should be $5,000 not $500,000.