Tuck hosts annual Tuck Runs for Veterans

by Gigi Grigorian | 5/25/18 2:35am

Green Key was not the only crowd-drawing event that took place on campus this past weekend. On May 19 the Tuck Veterans Club hosted its annual Tuck Runs for Veterans event, drawing more than 170 participants, including Dartmouth students, faculty and Upper Valley residents.

The event, co-hosted by the Tuck Athletic Club, raised money for the Veterans Education and Research Association of Northern New England, a White River Junction-based nonprofit that works to improve and advance healthcare for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The fundraiser’s primary run was a 5K route through the College’s campus and around Occom Pond. The event also hosted a 1K “Kids Fun Run” on Tuck Mall. In addition, at Tuck Circle, there was live music, food and raffles with prizes from Upper Valley businesses.

Event co-chair and Tuck Veterans Club co-chair Mitchell Leestma Tu’19 estimated that this year’s Tuck Runs for Veterans raised approximately $3,500 to $4,000. Like last year, the money raised from the event will be donated to support VERANNE’s effort to purchase a new wheelchair van which will cost more than $20,000, according to VERANNE executive director Priscilla West.

The van will be used to transport local veterans to their appointments at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction as well as to recreation therapy events in the Upper Valley. Specifically, West said that the van will be used to transport disabled veterans to adaptive sporting events, which include biking, canoeing, ice hockey and skiing.

“We liked being able to donate directly to [VERANNE],” event co-chair Michael Keating Tu’19 said. “They had a pretty valuable — albeit simple — goal [of purchasing a van], and we thought we could see a good return on investment there.”

Leestma said that while healthcare is a “very heated” topic in the U.S. right now, he thinks most Americans want veterans to receive the healthcare and treatment they need. He added that supporting VERANNE with this year’s run is a step toward increasing healthcare access for veterans.

“National services don’t always necessarily provide the care that might be needed or desired by local veterans,” Tuck Athletic Club member and run organizer Lindsey Wilcox Tu’19 said. “We’re in a very privileged position here at [the] Tuck [Business School]. Whatever we can do to help veterans is absolutely important given what they’ve done for us.”

The Tuck Veterans Club, which was called the Tuck Armed Forces Alumni Association until this year, is a student-organized group consisting of 18 Tuck students.

In addition to organizing Tuck Runs for Veterans every spring, the club puts on a panel each fall called “Microbrews and the Military” to allow the wider Tuck student body to ask veterans about their experiences, Leestma said.

Keating said that there were no major changes between this year’s and last year’s events. In the future, he said he hopes that Tuck Runs for Veterans will expand to more widely engage the Dartmouth community by drawing more undergraduates to the event.

According to Keating, the most valuable aspect of the club is comradery among its members and the support with which members can provide each other.

“[The club’s] primary role is just to help [members] pivot away from [their] military careers into what is a very different life in private industry,” Keating said.

Keating said he appreciates that the Tuck Veterans Club can serve Upper Valley veterans through events like Tuck Runs for Veterans.

“As Tuck veterans, we’re a particularly privileged group,” he said. “There’s a lot of skills we’ve developed here and access we have that can benefit local veterans.”

West said the Tuck Veterans Club’s continued support for local veterans is valuable, noting that “it means so much to the vets.”