Vikings challenge through weather

by Senior Airman Katherine Holt
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The unpredictable German weather didn’t stop the more than 100 teams from participating in this year’s Viking Challenge July 29 at the Pulaski Park track.

The Viking Challenge was held to raise money for the Fisher House, located near Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, and other organizations in the KMC.

The Fisher House program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America’s military in their time of need.

In 2010, 75 teams participated, raising $35,000 for the Fisher House. This year’s total will be released today.

“The Fisher House is such a wonderful organization to give to,” said Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Gifford, 2011 Viking Challenge coordinator. “We are hoping to give more this year with the increase of teams participating.”

Each year, the KMC 5/6-sponsored event hosts teams from around the KMC as they lap the track for 24 hours of walking, jogging or running. The KMC 5/6 is a private organization that comprises KMC staff sergeants and technical sergeants who provide mentorship for NCOs and put on fundraisers for local organizations.

“One member of a team has to be on the track at all times,” said Tech. Sgt. JaKeitha Brown, KMC 5/6 Ways and Means committee head. “Walk, run or jog ― it doesn’t matter to us as long as they continue to move.”

Brown said teams were responsible for keeping track of the laps completed by each individual and the team as a whole.

“This year, we will present awards to the team and individual with the most laps completed,” Brown said, “as well as awards for the team and individual with the most pledged funds.”

Team costumes and custom names kept spirits high as the teams lapped the track.

Team Rosie the Riveter was made up of spouses of deployed Soldiers from Baumholder and their children. With strollers and backpack-like baby carriers, each member of Team Rosie pledged to walk 10 miles.

“We felt like the Viking Challenge was a great way to give back to the community,” said Ann Marie Detavernier, Team Rosie lead. “We know the impact that the Fisher House has on service members and their families, and it is a wonderful thing to contribute to.”

Team Rosie set up their own Facebook page to accumulate pledged donations for the challenge.

“My family has never needed the Fisher House, but I am glad to know that it is there if needed,” said Keri Harris, Team Rosie member. “It also gave us something to look forward to. Getting ready for this event took our minds off of the time apart from our spouses.”

Whether teams came out for the fitness, camaraderie or personal reasons, there was one common factor ― they were there to give back.

(To see more photos from the Viking Challenge, visit