By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN – Women ran in combat boots while men ran in heels Sunday for the benefit of veterans coming home from deployment, as part of Operation Fairborn Cares (OFC) Heels for Heroes race.
“It’s a program where we provide financial assistance, food, some furniture, car repairs or whatever when the separate from the military and they need assistance when getting reestablished,” Fairborn Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick, who co-chaired the event this year, said. “[OFC] started four years ago, and we’ve helped a number of veterans.”
Now in its third year, Heels for Heroes incorporated new elements this time around, such as allowing teams to participate, including a relay, instead of just two races between males and females, and awarding not only the fastest male and female runners, but the fastest and slowest team and the team with the best costumes as well.
“It helps bring the community together; it helps to remind people that our returning veterans may need some assistance,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s a great way for people to show their support for our veterans.”
The Fairborn Senior Center took the prize as the fastest team, while council was awarded as the slowest team. The Mayor’s Beautification Committee won with the best costumes. Activities Coordinator John Errett of the Fairborn Senior Center took home the gold as the fastest male runner.
Errett participated in the event for the first time this year, and said he practiced walking in heels Friday around his workplace, but had never ran in them until Sunday.
“It’s for a good cause,” Errett said. “I was asked and decided to throw on some heels. I practiced all day Friday at work, it was my first time ever wearing heels. I just walked around, I didn’t run or anything. Just throw them on a go, don’t worry about it.”
Meanwhile, 12-year-old LeeAnn Williams laced up a pair of combat boots and was awarded as the fastest female runner. She said she felt good participating, as the funds went toward assisting veterans. Her cousin is serving in the Navy.
“It’s another way of helping the community and bringing people together for a cause to help our veterans who have given so much by deploying for our country, and helping to meet those needs,” Co-Chair Clint Allen said. “I’ve been a part of OFC for the past four years, and there’s nothing like being able to have the funds to help these veterans when they’re struggling.”