Veterans run is raising money for homeless veterans community

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COLUMBIA - As an event promoter for Off Track Events, Colin LaVaute has planned plenty of races in his work career. This year, he wanted to plan a race that gave back to the community. 

"I realized there wasn't a Memorial Day run that benefited a local veteran's charity. I felt like there was a void there that needed to be filled," LaVaute said. 

As a result, the "Memorial Day Run for the Veterans 5K/10K" will be in Columbia at Flat Branch Park for the first time Monday with all proceeds of the race going to Welcome Home, Inc, a community supporting homeless veterans. 

"Colin basically contacted us a couple months ago about the 5K run and was interested in hosting a run specifically for veterans charities in the area. He asked if we would be interested in joining forces with him to run a race for veterans," Welcome Home Inc, CEO Sarah Grim said. 

Welcome Home, Inc plans on spending the money raised from this event to build temporary housing for homeless veterans. Grim said the exposure this event gives to Welcome Home, Inc is also very important. 

"There's approximately 700 homeless veterans at any one point in time in this service area and any organization such as Off Track and Colin's 5K run, any activity that puts us in the news, puts our organization up front not only to talk about homelessness among the veteran population, but also to raise awareness for our capital campaign is really important," Grim said. 

LaVaute hopes not only this race, but his partnership with Welcome Home, Inc continues for years ahead. 

"I hope to see people come out and if we get a good turnout, hopefully we can make this event an annual event and have this Memorial Day run that benefits Welcome Home, Inc for years to come," LaVaute said.