500th MI Bde. event supports, highlights women's equality
September 6, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Breanne Ball blazed her way to the finish line during the Women's Equality Day 5K Fun Run, at Stoneman Field, here, Aug. 29, finishing first among all female participants with a quick time of 21 minutes, 30 seconds.
The 15-year-old Ball was just a few minutes behind 2008 Army Male Athlete of the Year, Capt. Shawn Dodge, commander, Headquarters Operational Command, 732nd Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion, who crossed the finish line in just 16 minutes and 30 seconds.
"It's a quick course," said Dodge, who made it look all too easy. He's preparing to compete in the 2009 Army Ten-Miler, Oct. 4, in Washington, D.C.
Ball is the daughter of Col. A. Thomas Ball, chief of staff, U.S. Army-Pacific (USARPAC). Not new to racing, she runs for Iolani School's cross-country team and has competed in state-level track tournaments.
"I enjoyed track, especially the 800 meter and the (4 x 400 meter relay)," she said. "Three miles is the most I like to run as I'm more a speed runner versus a distance runner."
Saturday morning's event, which also included a 1-mile keiki run, was hosted by the 500th MI Brigade in support of Women's Equality Day 2009. The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation cosponsored the event, providing T-shirts to all entrants.
More than 350 people turned out for the run, said Sgt. 1st Class Jerrard Hughes, equal opportunity advisor, 500th MI Bde. Hughes, who helped organize the event, said many supporters and family members stuck around for post-race activities as well.
A central booth displayed strong and courageous women throughout history who've paved the way for women's equality and featured exemplary female military members who continue to serve as role models for all female service members today.
"As an individual, it is often hard to see your impact on the world around you, but as a collective group, it is amazing what you can accomplish," said Kim Rankin, a member of the Hui O' Na Wahine, an all-ranks spouses club at Schofield Barracks.
"This is so true, whether you look to the women who have come before us to support women's equality or to the members of today's Hui O' Na Wahine," she added. "We all have worked to create a better community around us."
Col. Christopher Ballard, commander, 500th MI Bde., recognized volunteers and community organizations for supporting women's equality and furthering strides in the lives and education of women.
"I'm so pleased with the community turn out for this event today. I'm also very proud of our 500th MI Brigade Soldiers and family members who volunteered their support. I think it demonstrates our commitment as an Army to gender equality. It's an important thing to celebrate," said Ballard.
Post-race, representatives from the American Red Cross, Army Community Service, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, the Honolulu Black Nurses Association, Hui O' Na Wahine, PortaBox Storage, Tomboy Tools, and the University of Phoenix provided information about career path choices, services and resources to help improve the lives of women in society.