Helping United States veterans in need is a cause that has become near and dear to those in the Keansburg High School athletic department, and on May 12 the Titans will continue their efforts to assist service men and women by hosting the Titan 5K.

The 8th Annual Titan 5K will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 12 at Keansburg High School with all proceeds being donated to various organizations which help veterans transition back to civilian life through innovative programs, services and technology. The yearly race is a joint effort between the Keansburg baseball and softball teams and has become a passion to those involved.

“The Titan 5K not only instills the importance of servitude to one’s country, it honors our veterans and teaches Keansburg student-athletes about the sacrifices others have made to protect our freedom and way of life,” the Keansburg athletic department said in a press release.

Hundreds of thousands of service members suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression in transitioning from active duty to civilian life, while tens of thousands more return from deployment with life-altering physical injuries. Through the Titan 5K, Keansburg has been able to raise and donate over 70,000 dollars over the past seven years. It has been a complete community effort, as well, with current students and staff, administrators, alumni, local residents and business owners showing their support through volunteering, corporate sponsorships, donations and participation in the event.

“It’s tremendous,” Keansburg athletic director Tom Stark said. “The event has really brought our athletic department and our community together and it’s something people really look forward to with the fact their little bit will make a difference.”

Service dogs are a popular and effective method of treatment and assistance, but also quite expensive. Last year, Keansburg’s first service dog, aptly named Titan, was fully funded and trained through an organization called Rebuilding Warriors, which matches service people with dogs who are the best fit for them in civilian life. Titan was recently presented to a serviceperson matched to her skill set in Exeter, California.

“What began as the response to our athletic director Tom Stark's question, ‘How is your team going to serve our community?’ has become the most well-respected and professionally executed running event in our area,” the school said. “A late-night infomercial eight years ago about the diverse needs of returning soldiers touched a nerve with then-head baseball coach Brian Kmak, who reached out to head softball coach George Hoff and the idea was born. The Titan 5K is a seamless extension of the ideals Mr. Tom Stark and the Titan 5K committee members try to instill on the playing fields and in the classroom.”

The race is not affiliated with any local running clubs, but that is by design so all funds raised can go directly to charities as opposed to having to pay a fee to the running club. The race is becoming much more competitive and even has a wheelchair division.

On-site registration begins at 7:30 a.m. on race day and pre-registration will run through May 4 on www.active.com. Forms are also available on Keansburg High School’s web page. Anyone interested in becoming involved in the Titan 5K as a donor or volunteer can email Kelli Hudson at khudson@keansburg.k12.nj.us or call 732-787-2007 x4240.

 

Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at bob.badders@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.

 

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