By T. Anthony BellDecember 12, 2012
FORT LEE, Va. (Dec. 12, 2012) -- A deep commitment to wounded warriors and a growing concern for suicide prevention has led to a first-time Army Logistics University event that serves to raise awareness for both.
Day of the Warrior, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, combines guest speakers, a 5K run and a mixed martial arts event featuring several notable mixed martial artists .
Retired Sgt. 1st Class Vincent Miller, ALU's chief of combatives and one of the event coordinators, said the idea for 'Warrior" surfaced when he and a colleague began looking for more creative ways to support those physically and mentally impacted by war.
"The concept came from myself and a young Marine captain named Lee Stuckey," he said by phone. "Both Lee and I have been involved with combatives and worked with wounded warriors for years now. Considering that we just had the suicide standown, and with the holidays coming up, we asked ourselves what would be a good way to support our wounded warrior vets and the suicide prevention programs."
The concept eventually evolved and made its way to ALU student committees that organized and coordinated the event, said Miller.
Day of the Warrior is designed to address warriors' needs for encouragement and moral support, said Miller.
"We're going to have folks come in and speak about the Warrior Ethos," said he said of day one. "One of the guests is (Marine) Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter. Kyle was with his unit in a three-day battle in Afghanistan. On the third day, they were attacked by grenades, and Kyle made a conscious decision to jump on a grenade to save his buddy."
Day two is scheduled to kick off with the 5K run at 9 a.m. The start location for the race is the ALU parking lot. Pre-race registration is $20 and race-day registration is $25. Those who donate toys to the Toys for Tots program can save $5.
In addition to the race, a mixed martial arts symposium is scheduled at 1 p.m. at building 12504, located across the street from the ALU cafeteria. It will feature UFC fighter Marcus "The Bama Beast" Brimage and MMA notables Mike Moses and Gabriel Lovce. The fighters will demonstrate techniques and invite attendees to light workouts, said Miller.
Day of the Warrior, said Miller, is an extension of his passion to support those who have sacrificed so much.
"Ever since I've been in combatives, one of my goals was to get these guys out of the hospitals and back on the mats for training; let them feel like Soldiers again," he said.
Funds raised during the event will be donated to A Hero Foundation, a charitable nonprofit that has taken "wounded warriors from Bethesda (Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) and other facilities all over the country and gives them a chance to attend turkey shoots, fishing expeditions and UFC fights -- basically anything the wounded warriors are interested in," said Miller.
More importantly, Miller said he hopes the event instills in the participants "a sense of duty to our brothers and sisters in arms so they can take what they've learned back to their units." He also said he hopes the event is sustainable "three, four or five years" after he's departed ALU.
Those who want to participate in the run, may pre-register at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cash, checks and credit cards are also accepted by Miller. Make checks payable to "AHERO INC." More information about AHERO can be found at www.ahero.