TEMPE, Ariz. — Pat Tillman once declared that “Passion is what makes life interesting, what ignites our soul, fuels our love … and pushes our limits.”
Recently, U-Haul® Team Members, along with approximately 28,000 other individual supporters, pushed their limits for a great cause by running, walking or wheeling 4.2 miles at the 19th annual Pat’s Run.
Tillman was a football star at Arizona State University and an NFL starting safety for the Arizona Cardinals. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he left his professional football career behind to enlist in the U.S. Army.
Tillman served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan before devastating events on April 22, 2004, took his life. To honor his courage and heroism, Tillman’s family and friends created the Pat Tillman Foundation, which provides academic scholarships to military veterans and their spouses through the Tillman Scholars Program.
U-Haul, the original veteran’s moving company, has been a standing partner and proud supporter of the foundation.
Pat’s Run, which takes place every April, is the foundation’s signature fundraiser. U-Haul has sponsored Pat’s Run since 2010, generously paying the entrance fees for all Team Members who wish to participate in the event, and regularly provides trucks, self-storage and boxes to the event’s organizers.
U-Haul also contributes to the Pat Tillman Foundation by providing in-kind resources for Tillman Scholars who are moving for school, military placement, work or other circumstances.
“It felt like a sign”
Community Relations specialist Miranda Luna, who recently joined Team U-Haul, was in the job-interview process when she decided to participate in Pat’s Run.
“Once I learned that U-Haul is a Pat’s Run sponsor, and when I saw the U-Haul logo and equipment everywhere on race day, it felt like a sign that I was meant to be here,” Luna said. “Now that I’m officially part of U-Haul, I’m proud to be part of a Company that supports and gives back to veterans.
“I have always wanted to do a 5k run. I assumed that I’d need to be good at the sport before doing so. But, when I heard about Pat’s Run, I decided to let go of my fears and just go for it. And I’m so grateful I did. I met my goal of finishing the race in under an hour, and it felt incredibly rewarding. I’d definitely participate in Pat’s Run again.”
Ben Fitzhugh, a U-Haul buyer, became a Pat’s Run enthusiast thanks to his colleague, U-Haul Purchasing agent Lindsay Welsh.
“Lindsay has completed Pat’s Run eight times, so she’s deeply passionate about it,” Fitzhugh said. “I’ve done it once before, so when she invited me to try again, I decided to jump in and give it another go.”
On the day of the race, Welsh and Fitzhugh waited for the “go” signal in one of the 28 bays, which are used to stagger the number of people running at any given time. Once their bay was opened, the duo began their journey toward the finish line.
“There have been years where I’ve had a goal time, tracked my splits and killed the inclines; and then other years where I’ve just wanted to complete the race,” Welsh stated. “No matter the case, I always feel so proud when I cross the finish line on the 42-yard line of ASU’s Sun Devil Stadium.
“My husband is a veteran, so events like Pat’s Run – which my husband often participates in – are the perfect way for us to bond and show gratitude for other service members. If I could name one thing that I’ve learned from doing multiple Pat’s Runs over the years, it would be to not let your fears or doubts stop you from doing something meaningful.”
Added Fitzhugh: “I feel like we could all learn something from veterans, and from their examples of courage and dedication. We can all give back to these men and women in one way or another, whether by participating in events like Pat’s Run, volunteering or just thanking them for their service.”
To read more from U-Haul about previous Pat’s Run events, click here.