AFROTC to hold annual veterans 5K run

The Baylor AFROTC completes dress blues inspection on Sept. 14. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Brooke Bentley | Reporter

Following the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Baylor Air Force ROTC will hold its fourth annual Waco Wounded Veterans 5K at 8 a.m. Saturday in McLane Stadium. All the proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Wilmington, N.C. senior Justin Bishop is an AFROTC Cadet Colonel and vice wing commander for the Baylor unit. He said the event is changing locations this year to engage the Baylor community more.

“The past three years we’ve held it out at the Waco Dam, but we thought that we needed to get a larger student involvement on campus, so this year we’ve moved the event to McLane Stadium,” Bishop said.

The community’s response to the event has been more significant each year, Bishop said.

“It’s grown from just over 100 participants to 250 participants last year, and this year we’re hoping for over 400 with a good deal of students,” he said.

Tim Karcher, a retired U.S. Army colonel, is a Baylor dad who is among one of the many wounded veterans that benefit from events like the AFROTC Wounded Veterans Run. He lost his legs when his vehicle was struck by an EFP (explosively formed penetrator) in June 2009 during his third deployment to Iraq.

Karcher now devotes his time to nonprofit work as the director of outreach development and strategic planning with No Greater Sacrifice, an organization that focuses on investing in the education of service members’ children.

“The generosity of the American public is absolutely amazing,” Karcher said. “People with no association give their time, talents and treasures to ease the lives of service members and their families.”

In addition to its involvement with the Wounded Warrior Project, Baylor Air Force ROTC also interacts with Veterans of Baylor, an organization for student veterans, and the Heart of Texas Veterans One Stop, which assists local veterans and their families.

“I think it means a lot to the veterans that we’re reaching out and helping because we’re trying to serve. We’re trying to be in the military and, at the same time, we’re also honoring those who have already served,” Bishop said. “We want people to look forward to it every year and mark their calendars.”

Registration remains open until the day of the race, with same-day registration at $5 more per person. The sign-up form can be found on the Waco Wounded Veterans 5K website and t-shirts are free upon signing up.