Together, We Can!
In the winter of 2009-2010, Ashley Anderson and her brother Clay decided to take on an endurance challenge together. Both have had experiences over the previous years with races from 5k to marathon, as well as some triathlons. But it seemed time to do something together that would push their limits. After throwing some ideas around, the two decided on pursuing the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail (C&O) as their challenge. The whopping 185-mile trail, beginning in Cumberland Maryland and ending in Washington DC, provided the challenging scene for a seven-day run of seven marathons.
As the brother-sister team brainstormed on the logistics of doing such a run, the idea came to them that they should run it as a charitable event. Without question, the first charity that came to mind was the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) since both Ashley and Clay were serving active duty in the U.S. Navy and have seen the work that the WWP has provided for their fellow servicemen and women. From that point on the grassroots effort quickly started to experience the snowball effect.
Over the course of that summer; Ashley, Clay, the bicycle support crew consisting of Lisa, Charles, and Mauricio, and the leadership of the Georgetown University Running Club – Dave and Jordan, turned the idea of 185 For Heroes into reality.
On September 11th, 2010, Ashley, Clay, and their good friends of the bicycle support crew, crossed the finish line on Copley Lawn at Georgetown University, marking the end of their seven-day, 185 mile run. The collective mass of over 150 people watched as the 185 team paid tribute to the seven honorary wounded veterans and their families. The scene was remarkable yet emotional. By the end of this journey, the 185 team managed to raise just under $7,000 for the WWP.
The success of the run fueled the idea to turn 185 For Heroes into an annual event. Don and Chris Snook stepped up to the running challenge allowing for a 2nd Annual 185 For Heroes. On September 10th, 2011, the brother-brother team crossed the same finish line on Copley Lawn, marking the end of yet another successful year. The collective team was able to raise a grand total of $22,000 for the WWP while at the same time, paying tribute to the seven honorary wounded veterans of that year's event.
Seeing the overwhelming success of 185 For Heroes and the tremendous support that the team and event was able to provide for our country's wounded veterans, an official nine-person Leadership Team was elected in November of 2011 to guide the event into the future to continuously provide support to wounded veterans. In an effort to help a local wounded veteran non-profit organization, 185 For Heroes selected Operation Second Chance as the beneficiary of the 185 For Heroes event. To learn more about OSC, visit www.operationsecondchance.org. In August of 2014, 185 for Heroes was received their 501(c)(3) status from the IRS as a non-profit organization.
Prayer from the 1st Annual 185 For Heroes: Courtesy of Father Bill Kuchinsky - 0655, September 5th, 2010
Let us pray: Father, we thank you for the gift of this day and for the good work of charity that Ashley and Clay are about to begin this Sunday morning – Your Day: “The Lord’s Day.”
We pray for the Wounded Warriors who have sacrificed so much for the Good of Our Homeland. Please Lord provide for them in all their spiritual and physical needs. May they never feel alone but know that You are with them in the love they receive from their family and their friends. And may they always know the concern and support of a grateful Nation. We also beg you to watch over and protect all the members of our Armed Forces. Please grant that after they have fulfilled their duties they may return home safely. May the world one day soon enjoy the blessing of peace and tranquility among Nations.
Gracious Lord, we now ask you to turn your eyes of Mercy upon Ashley and Clay as they begin this noble task to benefit their comrades in arms who have suffered wounds as warriors in defense of the liberties with which you have blessed us. Send Your Holy Spirit upon them, free them from all fear and anxiety . . . may they joyfully endure the rigors of this challenge which they have gladly taken upon themselves for the good of their brothers and sisters in need. Please, Loving Father, during those times when they have to “dig” deep within themselves to push on toward the goal may they find Your Son in their hearts - Your Son Jesus in whom we can do all things: may He show Himself to be their strength and refreshment along the way. Send Your Holy Angels before them to guard them on the way to a joyful finish.
Ashley and Clay: May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May He look upon you with kindness, and give you His peace. We ask this in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
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