The community of Fallon came together on Friday for Financial Horizons’ fourth annual event, this year appropriately named the American Heroes 5K in support of the city’s heroes.
The run, which raises funds for different organizations every year, was devoted to the Wounded Warrior Project, the Sheriff Auxilary Fund, serach and rescue and the Fallon/Churchill Fire Station.
The department hosted the run, which started at the fire station at North Carson Street and hosted a record turnout of 139 runners, more than any of the three previous events according to Financial Horizons Branch Manager Angela Guthrie.
“It was actually Andrea Chabanol at FH and I who came up with the idea to do this American Hero 5K,” Guthrie said of the event. “This is the first one we’ve done for all of our local heroes. You always see on social media all this bad negative publicity on cops. Then cops are getting shot and firefighters are out in the middle of the night and they’re volunteers who don’t get paid to do what they’re doing. We live in a really tight community. Those are our friends, our neighors.”
True to the theme, several police officers, members of the fire department and community leaders including Mayor Ken Tedford turned out in support before the race began. Guthrie said several members of the fire department helped set up the event along with Fallon Lawnmower and Chainsaw, Taylor Mart, Century 21, Vinnie’s Electric, Remax Connection, Camacho Auto Sales, Anytime Fitness and Johnnie’s Deli, which donated the post-race refreshments. Between donations and registration fees for racers, the event netted more than $2,000 to be divided among four departments.
“We had a local company send us those port-o-potties, which we know sounds silly but we were turned down three times by three different companies so they’re pretty amazing,” Guthrie said on all the ways the event was made possible.
Mayor Tedford gave an in-depth speech on the importance of coming together as a community to support emergency services and law enforcement, particularly in light of the incident in Dallas in which five police officers were killed by a lone sniper on Thursday.
“I think this is a great turnout,” Tedford said after his speech, attending his first of the four annual 5Ks. “It’s really nice because of what transpired last night, I think it makes it even more unique.”
As a community representative, Tedford said he believes solidarity truly matters since Fallon has a great community of volunteer fire fighters, first responders, law enforcement and paramedics.
“Of course, I think this event matters even more tonight in light of what transpired in Dallas last night,” he said. “I believe it’s really important what Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said last night. Words matter and leaders matter. What we as a nation need to be careful about is what we say and the context in which we say it, but in order to heal between peoples we need to be forgiving and we need to discuss issues without being confrontational in any way. I think that’s the point he was getting at last night. As a people, as a nation.”
The mood of the event took a quick turn once the racers began to cross the finish line, greeted by a shower of water courtesy of Fire Truck 4 hanging its hose down the street from the finish line, as well as by a complimentary hot dog barbecue.
Resident David Dees, the first place runner from the event, was also the first to run back down to the end of the street after finishing to encourage his fellow runners.
“It feels great,” Dees said on finishing first, “But it’s really also just great to be out here for an important cause and beautiful weather with so much great support, so I’m just happy to be here. It’s a group activity, whether you’re first or you’re just finishing it’s important to get out here and just have some fun while you’re here.”
Dees was followed by Gerardo Grifaldo in second and Alexander Alfaro, who carried the American Flag for the first portion of the run, in third. Alfaro was relieved in the race by volunteer fireman Randy Sharp, who carried the flag to the finish line with him as one of the top finishers, but more importantly, as a patriot.
“I love to support my community and to support the military,” Sharp said on why he participated in the 5K. “My son is in the military, and I run for our freedom and to support this community.”