By Melissa Schlicht
Saturday was a clear, chilly day for the 3rd annual “5K Freedom Run/Walk” in memory of SPC Robert Freise. The race date coincided with the date of Robert’s ultimate sacrifice for our country. The bundled racers received t-shirts, race bibs, hot tea, and coffee while waiting in the registration line. They stayed warm in military tents with heat piped in. Words of dedication and prayer were said before the race. The Freise family was in attendance and spoke prior to the runners taking off and thanked those in attendance. Cindy, Robert’s mother, said she “felt honored that so many people came out this year to show their support”.
There was a group of National Guard trainees from Grayling participating. They all ran together in formation calling out military cadence and flying flags that lent an air of integrity that was very fitting for the hero that was being honored. When crossing the finish line each participant received their own set of dog tags in Memory of SPC Robert Freise. All proceeds from this event go towards the Veterans Freedom Park of Clare County.
This event grows each year. This year brought over one hundred more participants than the previous two years for a total of over 350 participants. This brings the vision of the Veterans Freedom Park of Clare County one step closer to reality. The motto of the park is to ‘Remember, Honor and Reflect’ on the great sacrifices that our past and current service men and women have made. It will give tribute to ALL veterans and war eras that honor our nation’s heroes. You can find more information and see design plans for the park at: http://www.veteransfreedompark.com/ or follow them on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/VeteransFreedomPark.
The Veterans Freedom Park of Clare County is still striving to meet a goal before they can build. They have an annual “Brick Paver Campaign”. Brick pavers may be purchased by the public to honor any American who has served, or is currently serving in the United States Armed Services. The Veteran does not need to be a resident of Harrison or even the state of Michigan to purchase the paver.