Navy Spouse Hosts Benefit Run for Tsunami Victims
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (May 21, 2011) Runners participate in the Kizuna 5K Fun Run/Walk event to benefit the people of Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Northern Japan March 2011. The U.S. Pacific Fleet Officer's Spouses Club sponsored the event and the proceeds were donated to the American Red Cross. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Logico/Released)
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (NNS) -- Emiko Coughlin, a Navy spouse from U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT), together with the COMPACFLT Officers' Spouses Club hosted the Kizuna 5K fun run/walk, May 21 to benefit those affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami last March 2011.
More than 160 service members and families participated in the fun run and raised more than $4,000 in proceeds to be donated to the American Red Cross.
"I am from Sendai," said Coughlin. "I continue to receive frequent phone calls from my parents who still live in the area. Sendai was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami. Those who remain continue to face great hardship. I felt strongly that I wanted to help the people of Sendai. Not only did I want to raise funds for the recovery effort, I wanted to send hope and encouragement."
The fun run consisted of two laps around the old Ford Island runway. Participants received T-shirts after the run.
"I was able to reach out to our Hawaii Ohana," said Coughlin. She recruited several local sponsors including Dumbell Fitness; Hair Attitudes; Hakubundo; Kiewit Pacific; Runner's HI; Dr. Neil Furuta, DDS, Honolulu Peridontics; and Pacific Aviation Museum, Pearl Harbor.
James Campbell High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JCHS NJROTC) also volunteered 18 cadets for the event as they assisted in setting up and directing runners around the runway.
"We're coming out to help everyone run, basically falling in where we need to be, where they need help," said Michael David, 16. David is the JCHS NJROTC student leader, and he said he was happy to be at the fun run to benefit Japan.
Lt. Cmdr. Dennis Wischmeier, assigned to Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet, was the first to finish the fun run. Wischmeier lived in Japan for three years, and he said the earthquake and tsunami was a devastating tragedy.
"It doesn't matter how I finished the race, it was good to run it," said Wischmeier. "It was for a good cause."
The COMPACFLT Officers' Spouses Club is a social organization designed to promote camaraderie among the officers' spouses in all branches of the military here in Hawaii. Membership is open to spouses of active duty, reserve and retired military officers. The club organizes a variety of special interest groups designed to introduce members to recreational and cultural opportunities in Hawaii.