Since September 11, an American flag has been traveling across the United States, carried by runners from different chapters of Team Red White and Blue. Tuesday night, the Old Glory Relay stopped in Salem, where they were met with a warm welcome from the community.
“It was tough but it was very well worth it,” said Team RWB Cleveland/Akron Athletic Coordinator Charles Robinson.
64 miles of running lay ahead of team RWB Cleveland Akron. Their journey that began in Parkersburg, ended in Salem.
“We had a West Virginia State trooper, and the Parkersburg fire department give us an escort for the first 5 miles,” said Team RWB Cleveland/Akron Chapter Captain Thomas Beers. “We had about maybe 100 to 150 cars behind us as we were sandwiched between the lights of our emergency responders.”
This was all part of the larger Old Glory Relay, an almost 4,000 mile journey to bring an American flag flown in Afghanistan from San Francisco to Washington D.C.
“We had way points though throughout the day where the trail and the roads crossed, so the van would advance to those way points, drop people off, pick people up, transfer the flag to those people and go,” said Robinson.
“This was actually a goal of mine,” said runner Raquel Zornes. “Last year I watched others do the Old Glory run, and I’m not a long distance runner. “This year I wanted to get at least 10 miles in, and I did.”
This is the only fundraiser that Team RWB does all year, to raise awareness for their mission of enriching the lives of America’s veterans though athletics, volunteering, and social interaction.
“We lose 22 veterans a day to suicide in the United States,” Robinson said. “Something like this to give camaraderie to the troops that come home, it’s been found that physical activity is 75% more effective than actually going to therapy.”
Wednesday morning at sunrise, Team RWB Morgantown will be picking up the flag at the Salem Volunteer Fire Department to run their leg of the relay. The Old Glory Relay will end on Sunday in Washington D.C.