Big Island community joins PTA in birthday celebrations
June 20, 2009
HILO, Hawaii - Runners and walkers, from as far north as Honakaa and military veterans and supporters from as far south as Kau, came to Queen Liliuokalani Park, here, and joined the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) command and civilian employees in celebrating the U.S. Army's 234th birthday with a 5K Fun Run/Walk, June 13.
"It is our way to celebrate and recognize the long historical existence of our nation's Army," said Command Sgt. Maj. Lynice Thorpe, PTA and installation's senior enlisted noncommissioned officer.
Under cloud cover, more than 60 motivated runners and walkers, as young as 9 years old and as old as 74, took to the streets of Hilo - from the park, through Hilo Bayfront, and back to the park.
Soldiers from the Oahu-based 82nd Engineer Support Company led their unit in a formation run from start to finish after Lt. Col. Warline Richardson, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Pohakuloa, gave a short motivational speech and encouraged runners and walkers alike to do their best.
Soon the sweat-clad, adrenaline-pumped runners and walkers reached the finish line.
At the finish line, runners, walkers and supporters were treated to a post-run cake to celebrate the Army's birthday, and they were provided giveaways of coffee mugs, key chains, baseball caps, shirts and backpacks.
Each participant received a run/walk package, which consisted of an Army Strong T-shirt and water bottle.
The Army's birthday celebration culminated with a barbecue brunch led by Pohakuloa's Range Operations team.
Decky Lopez, range operations supervisor, and Mitch Ryder, range technician, worked the grill as they provided the hungry stomachs of PTA staff, Soldiers and guests with barbecued hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken and side dishes of potato and macaroni salads.