TEMPE, Ariz. — Some 28,000 people on May 22 descended on Arizona State University to take part in the 13th annual Pat’s Run, which celebrates the life of Pat Tillman. Forty-one U-Haul Team Members were among the throngs of participants.
The 4.2-mile run began on campus, and participants finished at the 42-yard line inside Sun Devil Stadium. Tillman wore No. 42 during his playing days at ASU and No. 40 with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.
Many U-Haul Team Members based in the Valley are ASU graduates and have been inside the football stadium countless times. But on Saturday morning, it was a different kind of crowd. There were people of all ages, backgrounds and athletic abilities coming together for an important cause and a treasured legacy.
Pat Tillman’s Legacy
Pat’s Run was created soon after Tillman’s 2004 death in Afghanistan while he served as an Army Ranger. Born in 1976, Tillman was a star linebacker at ASU and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1997. He went to break the Arizona Cardinals’ record for tackles in a season with an astonishing 224 tackles in 2000.
But Tillman stayed humble. Between pro football games and practices, he received a Master of History degree from ASU. During those years, he also volunteered at Boys & Girls Clubs, the March of Dimes and local schools in the Valley.
In 2002, Tillman turned down a contract extension in the NFL to enlist in the U.S. Army. He would serve tours in Iraq and Afghanistan prior to his death.
Start of a Foundation
To support and remember his legacy, The Pat Tillman Foundation was established. The foundation invests in military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships, building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others.
On an annual basis, 60 Tillman Scholars are selected to represent the foundation. These individuals have a 98-percent graduation rate in their career fields and, on average, have served more than eight years in the military.
Money raised through Pat’s Run helps fund the academic scholarships given to the Tillman Scholars. To date, there has been $14 million invested in academic support. Collectively, the Tillman Scholars have volunteered more than 55,000 community service hours.
Serving the Community
Similarly to the Pat Tillman Foundation, U-Haul has a long-standing commitment to serving the community. U-Haul focuses its resources on assisting non-profit organizations that serve the most basic of human needs: food, clothing and shelter.
U-Haul also has a strong commitment to supporting our military and veteran organizations. The industry leader in do-it-yourself moving and self-storage was founded by a WWII Navy veteran and his wife in 1945. Today, U-Haul continues to assist veterans through is charitable affiliations and sponsorship efforts. The Company also shows its support through its concerted efforts to recruit and hire veterans. U-Haul has been recognized repeatedly as one of the top veteran-friendly employers in the U.S.
U-Haul has partnered with Pat’s Run in support of the Tillman Scholars program since 2010.
The Chance to Run
U-Haul offers a different volunteer opportunity each month for its Team Members in the Valley. The options range from building homes through Habitat for Humanity to feeding the homeless at St. Mary’s Food Bank.
The opportunity for Team Members to participate in Pat’s Run is among the most popular. Spots fill up quickly, and U-Haul pays $42 for every Team Member’s registration. Then it is up to the participants to raise money.
Plenty of alarm clocks went off during the 4 o’clock hour on April 22. Getting ready, making it through Tempe traffic and wandering past 40 local and national vendors inside the Race Day Expo takes some time.
Runners joined one of 28 corrals based on their estimated completion time. At 7:05 a.m., the first corral of 1,000 people took off. Every two minutes after that, another corral came to the start line. Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson was the honorary race starter.
People from all over the country had come together to support the Pat Tillman Foundation. U-Haul Team Members ran alongside current, reserved and veteran military personnel. Sixty-five Tillman Scholars ran and 28 led a corral. Volunteers, police officers and medics stood along both sides of the street handing out cups of water and words of encouragement. People from communities all over the Valley banded together because they know the result will have a positive impact.
Finally, thanks to Team U-Haul participants and volunteers: Alexis Alvarez, Bill Baker, Paige Baker, Ciana Birnbaum, Shaun Birnbaum, Amber Bremer, Scott Bremer, Paige Brown, Kelie Bud-Hale, Darla Butler, Carly Castillo, Elisha Dudley, Brittany Dukarm, Mandy Flanagan, Eva Franco, Mack Haggerty, Jessica Lopez, David Lopresti, Armelyn Louis, Freddy Mata, Ashley Mcomber, Jessica Nichols, Luis Ortiz, Zarin Sells, Zofia Sells, Malinda Sutter, Christopher Walderrama, Jason Wagner, Richard White, Teagan White, Kaden Wilkerson, Kelly Young, Nicolle Zavala, Samantha Zavala and Whitney Zeldin.
Did you know U-Haul sponsored Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day last December on its 75th anniversary? Read more at myuhaulstory.com.