Every year, the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation hosts a 5k to fund the expansion of the Fayetteville National Cemetery.
“We’ve been able to keep this cemetery open through the actions of the community,” said race director Wes Stites.
The RNCIC has tripled the size of the cemetery not only for veterans, but for the community as well.
“It’s a living part of history because we are able to keep it open for people to come in here,” said Stites.
One participant of this year’s race started going to the cemetery more than she would’ve liked.
“I ran today in memory of my son, Aaron Gordon,”said veteran mother Julie Slaton.
Her son suffered from PTSD and took his life in July.
If it wasn’t for fundraisers like this, her son wouldn’t have had the space to be honored in the cemetery.
“I didn’t realize until I started coming here… and started visiting… his new home… how limited the space is,” said Slaton.
People like Julie and her son are the reason that the RNCIC continues this tradition.
“I’m hoping it says to veteran’s that we value their time to our country.”
Not only does this event show gratitude towards veterans, but it also reminds families like Slaton’s of something important.
“You’re not alone, there’s help out there,” Slaton said.
Because of fundraising, two acres have been purchased so more service members will have a place to be honored.
-Courtesy of UATV Reporter Delanie Majors