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Track and Field hosts 24-hour run to honor soldiers

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On December 5 and 6, the Lipscomb Track and Field Team re-created the “Giving the Gift” 24-Hour run with their own 24 straight hour run to raise funds for U.S. Army Special Operations soldiers who have been killed in service to their country.

The Lady Bisons and Bisons traded off in 30-to-60-minute intervals, covering nearly 200 miles in the 24-hour period. Even though the temperatures only reached a high of 39 degrees and a low of 23 degrees, the team had two runners out on the track at all times. At the end of each interval they passed a Garmin GPS watch and one baton each to the next team members, so they passed their motivation to the next participants throughout the run and through the frigid night.

The “Giving the Gift” 24-hour run was first started in 1998 by the Lipscomb University Cross Country Team. The idea of the event was that God gives each of us skills or blessings to use to give back. Being blessed with the ability to run, the team decided that running was the best way they could give.

Initial events benefited Youth Encouragement Services and raised nearly $5,000 through donations from the runners' friends and family. Unfortunately the original event was discontinued.

But one of the original members was contacted by an aid of Three-Star General John F. Mulholland who led the invasion of Afghanistan following Sept.11, 2001 and is the Commanding Officer of USASOC. The aide expressed the need for funds to build a proper memorial for U.S. Army Special Operations soldiers who have given their lives in service to our country.

Through communications between this former runner and members of the Lipscomb track teams, it was decided to resurrect the event. All funds raised will be used to help build a proper memorial wall to be placed at Fort Bragg, N.C. Placed on this wall will be the name of every U.S. Army Special Operations Soldier who has given his life in service. The wall will be dedicated Memorial Day Weekend 2010.

In attendance during the run, offering his encouragement, was Special Forces Veteran David Hughes, Director of Lipscomb's Yellow Ribbon Campaign. David spent time out in the cold with the team, thanking them for their efforts and service. He shared with them how much it meant to his fellow soldiers and him to see the team care enough to sacrifice their time to raise funds for the memorial wall.

His presence helped to further personalize the event as he was able to share stories of some of the men who will be forever remembered on the wall. To make the matter even more personal for the runners and the donors, each runner was given specific names of soldiers for which to raise funds. Then, each donor was given a name he or she was sponsoring. With over a thousand names to be honored, the fundraising is an ongoing effort to ensure each soldier's memory is eulogized.

If you'd like to help out with the goal of getting every fallen U.S. Army Special Operations soldier's name on the Memorial Wall, please contact

USASOC Soldier Family and Command Support Association
416 Kingsford Rd
Fayetteville, NC 28314

or

Lipscomb Track & Field
3901 Granny White Pike
Nashville, TN 37204

or call team captain Andrew Shankles at 865-250-0878

The team's objective is to get $10 per name, and they've already raised $3,500. Please join them in this effort to honor the US Army Special Operations Soldier. For your consideration, the USASOC Soldier, Family, and Command Support Association is a 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code and is classified as a public charitable organization.

Contributions are deductible under section 170 of the Code. The organization Employer Identification Number (EIN) is 26-4285570. Make checks payable to USASOCSFCSA.