5 Reasons to Participate in the Tunnel to Towers SC 5K Run & Walk

By: Kristen Nida, Guest Contributor

This year marks the 5th annual Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers South Carolina 5K Run & Walk. Join Lexington Medical Center and other members of the community on Friday, September 15th at 7:00 p.m. in Columbia’s Vista to honor our veterans and heroes.

Below are 5 reasons to gather your friends, family members, and coworkers and participate in the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers South Carolina 5K Run & Walk:

It is a way to honor those who have sacrificed in the line of duty. The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was created by the Siller Family to honor the memory of their brother, Stephen. New York City firefighter Stephen Siller was off duty on September 11, 2011. When he heard what was happening at the World Trade Center, he strapped on 60 pounds of gear and ran from Brooklyn to Ground Zero to save lives.

This foundation honors Stephen Siller’s legacy by supporting our first responders and service members who sacrifice for our country. Attending the Tunnel to Towers South Carolina 5K Run and Walk is a great way to show support for the men and women who keep our community safe.

It’s for a great cause. The proceeds from this event supports Building for America’s Bravest, a program of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation that constructs specially adapted smart homes for injured service members.

It’s a fantastic way to get your family up and moving. This 5K is open to all ages and activity levels. Participants are welcome to walk or run. Not only will this 5K give your busy family an opportunity to spend some quality time together, but it will also be a good way to get your family active.

Running is always more fun with friends! Switch up your usual Friday plans with your friends and create a team for the 5K. Running with friends not only gives you quality time to catch up and chat, but it also gives you that extra ounce of motivation you need to continue on.

There is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you come for the run, the live music, the food vendors, the after party, or just to enjoy the beautiful views of Columbia’s Vista, there is sure to be something for each and every person to enjoy.

For more information or to register, visit https://www.crowdrise.com/T2TSouthCarolina2017.

Thank You

By: Katie Austin 

Veterans Day is a day set aside each year to honor our armed forces for the sacrifices they make to keep our country safe. These brave men and women give up their personal freedom to take the ultimate pledge to serve and sacrifice for our country.

On Veterans Day there will be parades, events, television specials, and news stories. Many retailers will show their appreciation to veterans by the way of free meals or discounts. Those brave men and women deserve at least that! They give up so much to ensure that we are all kept safe! But then, what happens after today? Do we wait until this time next year to be thankful for their service?

In my opinion, our appreciation should be shown more often. If these men and women are taking time to defend our country every day, then shouldn’t we take the time more than once a year to let them know how much their service means to us?

One day last week I stopped by Food Lion on the way home. As I walked through the entranceway, I passed by a man in uniform who had just checked out. I turned around to see him organizing his bags so that he could leave the cart behind. As he picked up the first bag, I walked up to him and extended my hand. As he shook my hand with his free hand, I said “Thank you very much for your service. I appreciate all that you do for our country.” He was shocked. I am not sure if I was the first to do that, but either way he veterans daydidn’t know what to say. He just smiled and said, “You are welcome and it is my honor.” Wow! I was blown away that he said it was his honor to serve our country, and all I could think was that it was an honor to have met one of the many heroes in the armed services. I smiled, and as I walked past the registers, several people just stared at me. Not sure if it was my hair sticking up out of place or if they couldn’t get over what I had just done. I smiled again, as I hoped my act would move them to do the same. This man had been shopping in their store and I am sure I wasn’t the only person to notice that he was in uniform.

Shouldn’t this be commonplace? When we see someone in uniform, shouldn’t it be common to simply extend our hand and thank them for their service? Or have we all just gotten so busy that we don’t have time to stop for a few minutes to appreciate the bravery of others, their patriotism, their sacrifice?

It’s a simple gesture that only takes only a few minutes of time to show that we appreciate all that they have sacrificed for us, our families, and our country. When you see someone today or any day in uniform, take a few minutes to thank them for their service. It’s the least we can do after everything they have done for us.

Thank you to all those that have served or are serving our country!! God bless each of you!

For a list of retailers offering free meals or discounts for veterans on Veterans Day, visit: http://themilitarywallet.com/veterans-day-free-meals-and-discounts/.

Pork, Freedom and Another Year Older

By: Elizabeth Webber Akre

July 4th is right around the corner.  This time of year, we all become focused on the holiday: plans to go to the beach, hosting a cookout, fireworks, barbeque, time off from work.  Wait, there’s something I’m forgetting.  I know I should know this…hmmm.  Oh yeah, my birthday.  The annual parade and celebration of my life is (supposed to be) on July 1st. My friends remember, my parents remember, my sister and my husband remember. The problem is that I always forget my own birthday is coming up.  Once again, it just hit me that it’s in a few days.  But, as usual, I’ve been focusing on the other things.

Here in the South, barbeque is a given on holidays like the 4th, Memorial Day, Labor Day and even New Year’s Day.  And barbeque in the South means four things:  pork, chicken, mustard and the all-important-fact that barbeque is a NOUN, not a VERB.  The most common, and most delicious, is good ol’ fashioned pig meat.  There are the connoisseurs who dig the pit and cook that baby for a day and a half.  It’s great barbeque, but I don’t have that kinda time.  Then, there are folks like my mom who will just go out and buy it from a BBQ joint.  Around here, the dumpier looking the BBQ joint, the better.  No flashy signs or logos.  In fact, if it’s a plain cinder block building with a chimney, that’s ideal.

And THEN, there are people like me and my sister.  We’re picky about our meat.  We don’t like meat with bones in it, we can’t tolerate fat on our meat and worse, in our mouths.  And, we’re pretty particular about the type.  So, we’re partial to making our barbeque in the crockpot.  Yeah, that’s right.  I mentioned that I don’t have time to pit cook, so the crockpot was invented for me, I think.  It’s ridiculously easy, tastes fantastic and people can’t believe you made it yourself.  Now, here’s how to do it. Hold onto your hat, this is complicated…

Place two pork tenderloins in your crockpot, add about ½ cup of water then a bottle of yellow sauce.  (You know you can buy Shealy’s in the grocery store, right?) Turn it on low and come back about 7 or 8 hours later.  Pull the tenderloins out and shred them with two forks.  Drain some of the cooking liquid and add more yellow sauce to the pot.  Place the meat back in the sauce, mix it up and warm on low for about 15 minutes.  And there you have it: lower fat Southern barbeque.

Of course, the most important part of the holiday is the celebration of the freedom we enjoy here in the U.S.  Probably all of us have had family or friends who have served America in our military.  It’s so important for us to remember what this holiday is really all about and to teach that to our kids.

Recently, I was able to take my 6-year-old to Washington, D.C.  I was so proud of how well she paid attention to the monuments and what I explained to her about them.  She was particularly interested in the mementos and circes left at the Vietnam wall by friends and loved ones.  She was intrigued with the Korean monument, as she is a big fan of the old M*A*S*H shows.  That may sound silly, but for a kid, it put a face on what the monument was commemorating.  And, when we arrived at Arlington to see the Tomb of the Unknown and the changing of the guard, she sat right up front, stayed quiet and took in every detail.  Afterward, she had lots of thoughtful questions and a new understanding of what our military does for this country.

So, as the 4th of July approaches and I prepare to blow out 44 candles, I wish you all a happy day of celebrating your freedom with your families, friends and a big, saucy plate of barbeque.