Vale Church Organizes Fun Run

June 30, 2014 | Eve Rusk

The sun shone brightly on the 57 runners and walkers who got up early on Memorial Day to participate in the inaugural Vale (Ore.) Memorial Day Fun Run. Whether they participated in the 1-mile, 5K, 10K or 10-mile race, everyone finished the race.

The event brought runners from as far away as Chehalis, Wash., and Eugene, Ore., to Vale, a small farming town in rural Oregon with a population under 2,000. The Vale Church, with Brian Yarbrough, pastor, organized this family event to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which assists wounded service members and their families as they return to civilian life.

Although organized by the Vale Church members, the event brought the community together. The Vale High School cross-country team helped with timing the races. Local sponsors provided bananas, water bottles, door prizes and prizes for finishers. Vale Church members hosted three water stations, crafted unique awards for the top three male and female finishers in each race, and sponsored other costs associated with the run. Yarbrough reports the event raised more than $800 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The races began in Wadleigh Park, where church members also had a table featuring healthy-lifestyle materials. One group of ladies participated because they are a part of an exercise group that church members Teri Bonson and Charlan Heid lead in the former church school building, now known as the Timberland Lifestyle Center.

Yarbrough, an avid runner, organized the event in part because of the experience of a church member in the Ontario (Ore.) Church, which Yarbrough also pastors. The church member told him how the Wounded Warrior Project helped her son, a veteran who returned from service for his country as an amputee. Yarbrough has participated in other races that also supported the Wounded Warrior Project.

A small church in a small community can have a large impact. Several participants requested that the event return again next year.