In October, Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) employees and community members participated in the second Spirit of Freedom 5K race hosted by HONOR, MPC’s Veterans employee network chapter in Findlay, Ohio. The race raised more than $25,000 for K9s For Warriors, the nation’s largest provider of service dogs to military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and military trauma.
More than 100 employees and members of the Findlay community participated in the in-person race, and nearly 130 employees across MPC participated in the virtual race option. Participants could choose to walk, run or ruck. Rucking is a common military term used to describe soldiers carrying a weighted backpack or military gear.
“It was exciting to see our colleagues and Findlay community members show up to support this great cause,” said MPC Employee Well-being Program Manager and co-chair of the Findlay Veterans employee network chapter Nick Batanian. “As an ally and member of the Veterans employee network, we wanted to give back to a cause that helps raise awareness of mental health struggles among veterans.”
This year’s race included new activities for families, such as a Kids’ run and a Touch-A-Truck event, giving kids an opportunity to interact with MPC trucks and fire trucks in partnership with the Findlay, Ohio, fire department. Representatives from local Veteran nonprofits were also in attendance to share information about other resources available to veterans in the community.
Leading up to the event, Batanian joined local radio personality The Big Kahuna along with warrior Bob Connor and his service dog Molly in the 106.3 The Fox studio to promote the race and encourage participation.
In addition to the 5K race, the Findlay HONOR chapter has sponsored several dogs in the K9s For Warriors training program.
“We are grateful to the team at MPC for hosting its second annual Spirit of Freedom 5K, bringing employees and the community together in support of K9s For Warriors’ mission to end veteran suicide,” said K9s For Warriors Community Relations Manager Stephanie Vogt. “Without the support of companies and fundraising events like the Spirit of Freedom 5K, we could not save the lives of dogs and veterans. MPC has been an incredible partner sponsoring the training of many service dogs, which was made possible through the funds raised during last year’s 5K race.”
“On behalf of HONOR, thank you to all who attended the event or donated to support this incredible cause. Whether you volunteered, participated in the race or made a donation, your generosity is greatly appreciated,” said Environmental Compliance Manager and co-chair of the Findlay Veterans employee network chapter Michael Gray.