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Tampa Event Raises Funds for Gold Star Families



Tampa Race Funds Gold Star Families

An organization dedicated to supporting families of fallen soldiers is hosting a race in Tampa, benefiting Gold Star families.

Retired Army Veteran Steve Seamen and active-duty Air Force airman Vanessa Valdez are running with purpose and dedication.

“Freedom isn’t free,” said Valdez. “And that’s the ultimate sacrifice. We sign that blank check.” Both are participating in the second annual Freedom 4 Miler run in Tampa.

The race was initiated by the nonprofit “Believe With Me” in 2015 in Tequesta, Florida. The organization provides crucial support to Gold Star families.

“The family sacrifices so much,” said Seamen. “The moving, the deployments, taking care of the family. And then they’re the ones who are left behind with the hurt and pain, and they need that support just as much.”

This special run serves as a way to pay tribute and remember the sacrifices made by fallen soldiers and their families. It also offers an educational experience where runners learn about the individual soldiers they are honoring.

“Every year we select four service members who have fallen for various reasons, and we run as that person. So when we’re running, we’re running for their spirit. Every mile is dedicated to a fallen service member,” Seamen explained.

Valdez is running for a family that lost their daughter in the fight for freedom.

“I want them to know that their daughter mattered and that what everyone does and sacrifices matters to me, to those I serve with, and to the United States,” Valdez explained.

The money raised from the event is used to buy Christmas presents for Gold Star children.

Currently, there are 2,500 kids on the list who will be receiving Christmas gifts. “It’s great to have an organization that still says, ‘hey, you’re still part of the family,'” said Seamen. “We haven’t forgotten about you. We don’t forget them and we don’t forget you.”

The race will be held later this month at Al Lopez Park. For more information, click here. News is reported by Fox 13 News.

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