“Singing in the rain … (we) are singing in the rain,” was just one of the many chants heard during this year’s Viking Challenge held July 27 and 28 at the Pulaski Park track.
The fund-raiser was hosted by the KMC 5/6, a private organization that comprises KMC staff and technical sergeants who provide mentorship to NCOs. Rain or shine, the 24-hour run/walk-a-thon from noon to noon, challenged more than 1,500 participants, the largest turnout ever. Starting with sweltering 94-degree heat then some light showers, the elements did not seem to slow the teams.
“We are out here rain or shine every summer and every year it is a great event,” said KMC 5/6 chairman Tech. Sgt. Eric Villafaña. “I’m so glad that this year I was able to be part of this fund-raiser and help out.”
Spirits reached as high as the day’s temperature, cheers were thunderous, and motivation never dwindled as participants endured lap after lap, completing the 24-hour challenge.
“Everyone is completing this challenge based on (their) pledges, so the more they run the more money we raise,” Villafaña said.
The Viking Challenge raised money for the Fisher House located at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center as well as other organizations throughout the KMC.
The Fisher House provides, at no cost, a “home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
“Our military community is out here supporting a great fundraiser,” said Vivian Wilson, Fisher House representative. “(The) Fisher House makes it possible for loved ones to be at the bedside of members receiving medical care.”
The 14 teams distinguished themselves by dressing in costumes and other bright and colorful ensembles, while others held hands and passed on flags or symbolic tokens.
A U.S. Air Forces in Europe logistics team passed a torch amongst members on the track and dressed in white sheets and crowns resembling past Olympians.
The members of team “Maloney’s Bar” dressed as leprechauns in bright green with Irish-flag capes; they were awarded the Esprit de Corps Trophy.
Other teams and individual awards were: most laps completed and most pledges.
Last year, the KMC 5/6 presented the Fisher House with a $72,000 check. This year’s goal is $100,000. The total dollar amount raised this year is still being calculated.
“Every year’s event keeps raising the bar, but this is the largest fundraiser so far,” Wilson said. “(We) are just doing what (we) do best, and that’s taking care of one another.”