Mobile, AL (WKRG)
It was a good turnout this morning for what’s becoming a Veteran’s Day weekend tradition. The second annual Battleship 12k raises money and awareness for veteran causes.
“Thanks so much to all our runners from the 17 different states that have joined us here today,” said Event Director Mike Wattigny as he cheered on racers at the start of the race. The event is meant to highlight services for people who have served in the military. Healthcare and suicide prevention are on the top of the list.
“It’s the invisible scars the emotional scars things you can’t see, they don’t have a time to decompress,” said Wattigny. Christopher Montgomery is the first to arrive. He lost both his legs in Afghanistan and says veterans need things like this.
“The VA’s getting slammed so there’s definitely that need and events like this help that, it gets vets out it shows them people do care, people do care what they went through,” said Montgomery. In one respect this is a fundraiser but organizers say the bigger role is connecting veterans, especially younger veterans with the services they may need.
“Raise their awareness so then maybe they could individually fund raise, just let people know the problems exist and how to be a part of it,” said Mike Wattigny. Organizers say roughly 1,200 signed up for the run. Some veterans say the biggest issue for them is making the transition from combat to calm.
“It’s one thing to turn on that switch to do what you have to do in a combat environment as you transition and go into a civilian life it’s another thing to turn it off so you can actually transition,” said Former Army Ranger Derek Bass. Organizer mike Wattigny says the event is not a big fundraiser. He says the key is raising awareness for different organizations. The event helps charities including Team RWB, Mission 22 and the Boot Campaign.