O’FALLON – Nearly 300 people came out Saturday morning to race about 328 feet to raise money to assist veterans and their families.
The third annual VFW Post #805 0.1K began at the train car in Downtown O’Fallon. From there racers ran straight, stopping at the hydration station at the halfway point at South Cherry Street, and then finishing in front of the VFW post. It took the first place runner under two minutes to complete the race.
Event organizers Paul and Sharon Zinck couldn’t have been happier with the turnout. Sharon said Paul first had the idea to hold a 0.1K in O’Fallon after running one elsewhere.
“My husband went to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to visit his sister and they had a 0.1K there to raise money for duchenne’s disease. He came back and said we’ve got to do one here. Once we did it everyone said we have to do another one. VFW’s from all over the area have people here and a lot of state officers are here,” said Sharon.
Paul said the race couldn’t happen if he didn’t have the help and support of a lot of people.
“VFW Post 805 is a very active post and we are so blessed to have so many volunteers. They all did a great job putting the race together. One of the things I’m most commonly asked is how do you do something like this, and the first thing I have to say is that you’ve got to have a partner that will kick you in the butt and tell you to get things done. My wife Sharon did all the registration, email… we couldn’t have done it without her,” Paul said.
The proceeds from the race were given to the VFW National Home for Children, a non-profit organization that helps America’s military and veteran families by providing a place to turn in difficult times.
“I travel around, going from post to post, doing events like this to raise funds so that the home can take care of the families of and the kids of military veterans. We provide a happy home environment for troops, some that have PTSD, disabled veterans, families of soldiers killed in action. It’s a great resource and the VFW is the only veterans organization that has a service like the National Home for Children,” said Mike McGrath, the Illinois Representative for the VFW National Home for Children.
McGrath said he always loves stopping into the O’Fallon VFW.
“The post here in O’Fallon, God bless them. They do a great job raising awareness and helping to raise funds so we can continue on. Paul Zinck and his wife Sharon have been wonderful. My post is in Naperville and we do a 0.1K also, but Post 805, they’re the ones who started it off. I love coming down here,” McGrath said.
Between the two races held by the Naperville VFW and the two races held by O’Fallon prior to Saturday, the two posts have raised nearly $40,000 for the VFW National Home for Children. The O’Fallon post added another $4,100 to that tally at the conclusion of Saturday’s event.
VFW State Commander Phil Maughan and his wife also came down for the race. Maughan said the O’Fallon VFW is a model for other posts to look to.
“It’s great to see so many people come out and support this post. We really do enjoy being here. There’s a lot of energy and great folks here. The VFW has about 300 posts in the state of Illinois and while I’ll never say which one is my favorite, clearly this is one of the leading posts in the state in terms of what they do and what they mean to their community,” said Maughan.
If you may have missed out on the fun, Paul said you can rest easy knowing he is already beginning to plan the Fourth Annual 0.1K to be held next year.