Veterans 5K honors military, funds naval museum

Proceeds to help bring historic naval ship downtown

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Sunday night's Tim McGraw concert isn't the only way Chase is saying thank you to our military community. The company and hundreds of it's employees joined with W.W. Gay and others in our community for the Salute to Veterans 5K.

It's a way to honor veterans and active duty members, as well as raise money to bring a piece of naval history to downtown Jacksonville.

Runner Liz Fink says, "It's so important to be here because of all they do for us for our country. We wanted to salute them."

The second annual race started at the Jacksonville Landing, and organizers say there were twice as many people here this year than last. Bill Berky and his wife Sonya came to honor their son Staff Sargeant Bryan Berky, who was killed in action six years ago while serving in the U.S. Air Force.

"Unless you're a military family and been involved in it it's hard to explain how much our military does for us how much they pay for our freedoms," Bill Berky says.

It wasn't all running though, renditions of military songs helped round out this event sponsored by W.W. Gay and Chase bank, who had hundreds of employees taking part.

"Today's purpose is to really say thank you for all you do for our country thank you to a great city," says Steve Vachon of Chase Bank. "And thank you to everyone who supports the military here in Jacksonville."

In addition to honoring our military community, the race also aims to bring a piece of military history downtown.

The proceeds from this race will go to the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association. The group wants to bring the U.S.S. Adams to downtown Jacksonville. It's something the president of the association says is long overdue.

"Were America's third largest Navy town and without a navy warship on display," says Daniel Bean, President of the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association. "After 911 it's very difficult for folks to see what the navy can do and this will allow people to do that."

And until that happens, many here say they're just happy to be here and show their appreciation.

"Our freedom is not free," says Retired Senior Chief of the U.S. Navy Harold Lawrence. "We salute all of the veterans both past and present and future without them we wouldn't be who we are today a free nation under God."

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