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  • Megann Horstead

Fifth annual Wounded Warrior 5K Run continues support of veterans’ affairs


The Run for the Brave Wounded Warrior 5K Run/Walk drew runners and supporters to Plainfield May 28, in remembrance of the many men and women who put their lives on the line to serve their country.

The fifth annual event featured an opening ceremony, silent auction, presentations, food and more.

Donna Morsovillo, founder of Operation Welcome You Home, said she started the nonprofit organization’s fundraising event to support veterans and fill in any gaps that may exist in making the lives of others better.

“While the Veterans Affairs is great in helping veterans, there are some extra things they would not help with,” she said, noting how the nonprofit has helped them to acquire the necessary funding for riding lawn mowers and other support mechanisms.

On average, the annual race brings in about $50,000 to help support the varied needs of veterans.

Morsovillo said knowing that Operation Welcome You Home has reached a milestone in 2016, and is hosting its fifth annual race brings great meaning to her.

“It’s a cause that’s near and dear to my heart,” she said. “I had a Vietnam veteran brother who died not in the war but as a result of the war. I know how difficult it was for him because there weren’t at that time organizations like ours around.”

Morsovillo said the nonprofit organization’s ability to help the needs of those who served the country is formidable.

“We’re helping local people,” she said. “We’re not a national group. We’re a small, local grassroots organization of volunteers.”

Retired Marine Major Ben Bierly, of Romeoville, was in attendance for the annual event. He said it brings great meaning to him coming together with local veterans and supporters.

“To me, [it means a great deal] to see other folks out here supporting fellow Americans who decided to serve,” Bierly said, noting the risks these individuals take by enlisting.

Bierly said the show of support seen serves as a good reminder of why people choose to serve.

“To see folks like Operation Welcome You Home come along and get with other organizations to help [veterans] out is a great feeling,” he said. “To see that, I think that shows a good side of America. It’s a good reminder of why we do what we do in the military in serving our country and protecting our way of life, which we do willingly.”

Carrie Lapitan, of North Aurora, was one of many in attendance for the annual race. She said it brings great meaning to both she and her son to compete.

“We started a tradition where my son wanted to start doing stair climbs, so we did a couple of charity events last year and early this year,” she said. “We started noticing that there was 5K walks, so he wanted to do it.”

Lapitan said the race serves as a great way to bond with her eldest child, Nathan.

“It’s more of he wants to do this thing, so I’m here with him,” she said. “He’s definitely my motivation because I couldn’t do this on my own.”

She added that it’s nice being able to giveback to community for a good cause.

Sponsors for the Run for the Brave Wounded Warrior 5K include LJM Partners, Gerald Subaru, Country Financial, and Northern Trust, among others.

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