This past February, after being part of the Travis Manion Club at my school for several months, and participating in a number of community service projects, I began to develop an idea that would bring the community together in support of the foundation in a different way. Since I’m a runner and very involved with the Track and Cross Country programs at my school, I thought a Council Rock Travis Manion run would be the perfect way to achieve my goal. I suggested the idea of a 5k to the club and there was a lot of support for the it right away.
Come race day, the turnout was unbelievable. An amazing team of young students were anxious to help put the plan to action and a great number of runners and walkers turned out to take on the distance. The event was a huge success with over 80 participants and raising over $4,200. I plan to run it again next year, keeping in mind all that we learned from our experiences along the way.
Pictured are two of the 5k race leaders with TMF staff member. Pictured from left to right are: Hannah Devlin, Josh Jabin and Kyle Kutney
Why do you participate in the TMF club?
After learning about the Foundation’s mission, I wanted to be a part of it and work toward its goal of building character in my generation while at the same time, raising awareness and support for veterans and fallen heroes.
What do Travis’ words “If Not Me, Then Who…” mean to you?
After working with the Foundation, his words have become an internal motto of mine. To me, it means that I must do everything I can to motivate myself and to lead others to reach our goals, and you should never leave it up to other people if you want something to happen.
Why do you think it’s important to do service projects?
Service projects are important not only to the community that is receiving the help, but also to the volunteers that are doing the work. Hard work and commitment to a goal builds character, especially in young people, and strong character in a community will lead to further help being given within that community and to others.
Why did you decide to start the TMF 5k at your school? You mention you wanted to bring your community together–can you talk about that?
I started the Council Rock Travis Manion 5k so that the community would feel united under a common goal: to support the Foundation. It would also provide a healthy opportunity for members of the community to challenge themselves and build character in the name of something greater than them. The 5k’s purpose was not only to unite the community, but also to raise money to aid veterans and their families. With this event, many aspects of my overarching goals were reached.
Why does building character and remembering the heroes of our past matter?
Building character is needed to strengthen the minds of individuals in all communities in order to create a sense of unity. In addition to this, it is immensely important for people to remember all that the heroes of our military have done for us because that is the sole reason why we are here today.
What is the most important thing you learned from your personal experience with TMF?
It is how motivating a small group of people can lead to such a big impact on the community.
Through your involvement with TMF, how have you inspired others?
I feel that the passion and commitment I have shown to the Foundation, our club at school, and to putting together the 5k captured the attention of others. Because they saw how dedicated I was to the mission of TMF, many were inspired enough to ask how they could volunteer their time to help or to sign up for the run.
What do you hope to do in the future?
In the future, I plan to continue working with the Travis Manion Foundation in order to give back to my community and support those in our military. I will work to continue to do well academically and athletically through the rest of high school and challenge myself with activities such as sports, clubs, and the USNA Summer STEM program. My ultimate goal is to get accepted to the United States Naval Academy and dedicate my life to serving my country.