East Windsor hosts Veterans Day 5K Road Race
By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
East Windsor - posted Thu., Nov. 14, 2013
Nearly 400 runners took part in the 14th annual East Windsor Veterans Day 5K Road Race on Nov. 9, to pay homage to all veterans that gave of themselves to allow America to stay free.
There was a brief ceremony held at the Town Hall prior to the race. Master of Ceremonies Mark Simmons began by thanking the runners for participating and showing respect to those that have fought for their county.
After Father Dan Wojtun of Saint Catherine's Church gave the prayer that began the ceremony, race chairman Jim Barton gave a special award to Marilyn Butenkoff in memory of her deceased husband, George Butenkoff, for all of the work he did over the years through the East Windsor Veterans Committee. "George was a very important part of the Veterans Committee," said, Barton. "We are truly thankful for his numerous contributions over the years."
Later, state Rep. Christopher Davis (R-57) gave the Butenkoff family an award of thanks and appreciation in honor of George's work with the vets.
Former East Windsor state representative Ted Graziani was the guest speaker of the race. "The thing that I am the most proud of in my life is being a Vietnam veteran," said Graziani. "The American flag means a great deal to me, as do our veterans. I am currently the Connecticut chair for employer support of the Guard and Reserve. My job is to inspire companies to hire our veterans. These vets are coming home to joblessness and a tough economy. They have lost family time that they will never be able to get back. They did this to keep all of us safe and free. Now, companies have to show they are willing to step up to the plate and hire these vets."
With the Broad Brook Fire Department and Police Department guarding the intersections and keeping the race course safe for the runners, it was time to go to the starting line. Runners were filled with anticipation of the cannon shot that would signify the beginning of the race.
Runner Alan Reichle, a first-grade teacher in Windsor Locks, said, "I have been teaching my class about the true meaning of Veterans Day. I felt that if I ran this race, the students would see that people really do show that they care about our vets. Many of the students are children of Army and Navy soldiers."
At the starting line, Ryan Leigle was stretching and preparing for the 5K run. "I am on active duty with the Army," said Leigle. "I like to run and so does my wife, Colleen. She is pushing our two girls in the stroller today. This is our second time running in this race. We look forward to next year, too."
With the blast of the cannon, the runners began their journey.