JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Wounded Warrior Project “Carry Forward” 5K returned to Jacksonville Saturday morning.
More than 2,000 runners signed up to participate in the event after it was postponed in November because of inclement weather.
Participants carried flags, weights -- and even other people.
The Wounded Warrior Project Carry Forward 5K raises money for veterans injured while fighting for this country.
Army veteran Dan Nevins was seriously hurt while serving in Iraq when his military truck hit a roadside bomb on November 10, 2004.
“I just remember the explosion, the fire, being ejected from the vehicle and not knowing which way was up,” Nevins said.
One soldier was killed in that explosion.
Nevins spent nearly two years recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
He lost one leg in the explosion and eventually lost his other after 36 different surgeries.
It was at his bedside where he met representatives with the Wounded Warrior Project, who have been helping him and his family ever since.
“That gift was just like a ray of hope in a time of my life where I thought everything was over,” Nevins said.
Participants braved the rain and cold early Saturday morning in hopes of helping more people like Nevins.
That is what inspired Natasha Norman to run the 5K for the first time.
“I do it for those that can’t,” Norman said. “People who are disabled, those who aren’t able to do it themselves.”
Navy and Army National Guard veteran John Faulkner carried the American flag and a special person in his mind.
“Today, I ran for my uncle who was a veteran in the Korean War,” Faulkner said. “He was not physically wounded but he had PTSD and things he needed to recover from. So, he still receives veteran services for that.”
The 3.1-mile journey was just one way to give hope.
“We have a group of people who are losing themselves as a service to others to do something good,” Nevins said. Creating some joy and happiness in the world at a time when we really need it.”
People can keep donating to Wounded Warrior Project at wwpcarryforward.org up to Feb. 21 for this year’s fundraiser.
A Wounded Warrior Project spokesperson said the goal for this year’s event was to raise $250,000 and it has already surpassed that. It has collected more than $280,000 and is still accepting donations.
The Wounded Warrior Project was established in 2003.
It currently serves 200,000 veterans and their family support members, including spouses and caregivers, nationwide.