BROWNSBURG — For Hannah Paczkowski and a few of her classmates, the statistic hit like a ton of bricks: one in three homeless men are military veterans.
With that in mind, plus being inspired by former DECA student and veteran Zach Day who is nearing the end of his 2,000 mile Hike for Hoosier Vets along the Appalachian Trail, Paczkowski and fellow Brownsburg High School seniors Morgan Weller and Nick Kelley are putting on a Hoofin’ It for Hoosier Vets 5K run/walk to raise money for the cause.
The event is 9 a.m. Nov. 10, Veterans Day weekend, at Williams Park in Brownsburg, but with early trouble drumming up participation and support, the students are canvassing both their hometown and Avon in hopes of getting the word out.
“All the proceeds are going to the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation,” Paczkowski said. “We started looking at (the statistics) and as we got more involved we realized what a great need it was in the community and how big of an effect the HVAF really has so we wanted to do something even more so we decided to do a race.”
With 180,000 members internationally, DECA is a program that allows students with career interests in marketing, management, hospitality, finance, entrepreneurship, and business administration to be part of a co-curricular program that gives them hands on experience in their chosen fields.
Weller, Paczkowski, and Kelley are all public relations focused. The three have lofty goals for their event.
“We’re hoping to raise $5,000 through sponsors, but not only are we hoping to raise money, but we’re wanting to raise awareness too.” Weller said. “I didn’t know about the HVAF before I started this and I think that if people come out and see our race and we get to show them everything, they’ll be more willing to donate in the future or at least be aware of it.”
Even the location was carefully planned with an eye on Day’s hike, which will most likely continue through some time in December.
“There’s a lot more to Williams Park than when you just pull up to it,” Kelley said.
Weller added, “The have a huge Veterans’ memorial and part of it will be going through that. They have a ton of trails.”
Paczkowski said, “We thought it’d be cooler because, different from other 5Ks that are around, to have it through trails, you don’t see that very often, especially since it coincides with the Hike for Hoosier Vets.”
The students are seeking donations for their event. There will be prizes for winners and a raffle at the event. Registration is $20 and ends Nov. 1. Participants will get a T-shirt. On the day of the event, registration is $25 or $20 and a canned food item.
There are also various sponsorship opportunities, which the students will be hoping to obtain from local businesses.
Registration may be made online at hoofinitforhoosierve.wix.com/hoofinit. Any questions may be directed to the students by e-mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the HVAF, visit the website at www.hvafofindiana.org.