by Steph Neligan

Picture a beautiful day about 90 degrees in the summer time.  You and your friends are at the beach tanning, playing football, or maybe just having lunch.  The sun is beating down so strongly that you now feel the sweat dripping from your face.  No problem, right?  You’re at the beach so all you have to do is walk a few feet and jump into the deep blue ocean. Well, what if you couldn’t go into the ocean?  What if you couldn’t walk, and jumping into the cool water wasn’t an option for you on this scorching hot day? Many soldiers who come back from war defending our country do not have such luxuries; they are often left paralyzed or severely injured–that’s just the reality.

This upcoming Saturday, March 31st,  Megan Sousa, a senior at Mount Saint Mary College, will be organizing a 5K race to help raise money for the Soldier and Family Assistance Center. Every senior who is a Communications major is responsible for completing a senior project before they can graduate. Some students start a creative initiative, others make promotional videos, and then there are the students, like Megan, who organize an event.

This particular event is possibly one of the largest events that the school has seen. There are over 700 people already signed up for the race and more expected to sign up on Saturday. Even the Superintendent of the US Army is expected to show up. The race is 3.1 miles, and the course is designed to start and end at the famous Orange County Choppers (OCC). Paul Teutul Sr., star of the Discovery Channel series American Chopper, is going to shoot off a gun to signal the start of the race.

American Chopper is a popular reality television show featured on Discovery Channel. The series shows Paul Teutul Sr. and his crew making custom motorcycles at Orange County Choppers. Many people are surprised when they find out that Orange County is not based out of California, but right here in Newburgh, New York.

The Soldier and Family Assistance Center (SFAC) is a great charity that helps injured and disabled soldiers who come home from defending our country.  SFAC gives them the support and assistance that they need after fighting terrorism overseas. Now, who wouldn’t want to run for our American heroes?  If that’s not enough of a motive to run in the 5K Saturday, then I’m sure the fact that the race will be featured on an episode of American Choppers is. What better way to spend a gorgeous Saturday than running for those who serve and protect our country?

The race will start at 10:15 a.m. It takes place at Orange Country Choppers located on Crossroads Court, Newburgh, New York.  OCC is only about 7 minutes from the Mount.  No one says you have to be a track star to partake in this race either.  The course is moderately challenging and there’s even a walking division.  Runners who register online pay a 20 dollar fee to enter the race, and if a runner registers on the day of it is a 25 dollar fee.  For more information about this great cause visit Hope to see you there!