PenFed Foundation partners with Wear Blue: Run to Remember to honor children of fallen military heroes
In recognition of April’s Month of the Military Child, the PenFed Foundation provided a $30K grant to support children of service members ensuring their loved one’s legacy is not forgotten
TYSONS, VA (March 29, 2023) — The PenFed Foundation, a national 501(c)3 founded by PenFed Credit Union, is partnering with wear blue: run to remember, a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring fallen service members through purposeful steps every week in community runs. The PenFed Foundation provided a $30,000 grant to support wear blue’s Gold Star Youth Mentorship Program and widely recognized “wear blue Mile” that honors fallen service members by displaying their photos and ribbons for one mile in large marathons across the country including the upcoming St. Jude’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville.
“Military children make a tremendous sacrifice that often goes unrecognized,” said James Schenck, CEO of the PenFed Foundation. “We are inspired by their resilience and want every military child to know that we see and support them, especially those who are enduring the immense and tragic loss of a parent.”
After losing her husband in Afghanistan, co-founder Lisa Hallett turned to running to cope with her loss. Lisa found a community of other wives and families searching for support and wear blue: run to remember was born. In the years since, Lisa has built the group into the global organization it is today as an outlet for loved ones to honor those they have lost and as a way for every American to convey tangible gratitude to our service members.
“When our children lose a loved one, there is so much in their worlds they cannot control. But, in the steps of a run, they are able to regain agency in a piece of their lives,” said Lisa Hallett, Co-Founder of wear blue: run to remember. “When an organization with the compassion and muscle like the PenFed Foundation partners with wear blue, we’re able to scale our impact to empower our families of the fallen; support our service members, veterans, and their families; and ensure that our fallen heroes are never forgotten.”
Over the past decade, wear blue: run to remember has grown into a nationwide running community that hosts weekly, no-cost Saturday runs to honor the service and sacrifice of the American military. The Gold Star Youth Mentorship Program pairs a military child of a fallen service member with a currently serving member of the armed forces. Together, they train for a 5K race, learning healthy coping habits and developing a meaningful relationship with a mentor who can help connect them to their identity as a military child.
On race days, volunteers line a mile of the course holding American flags with names of fallen service members embroidered onto attached ribbons.
About PenFed Foundation
Founded in 2001, The PenFed Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that supports veterans in their transition from service to success. Affiliated with PenFed Credit Union, the Foundation has provided more than $50 million in financial support to veterans, active-duty service members and military families. The credit union funds the Foundation's personnel and most operational costs, allowing 99% of incoming donations to go directly to our programs. To learn more, please visit www.penfedfoundation.org.
About wear blue: run to remember
wear blue: run to remember was founded following the redeployment of 5-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, a unit that, while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, sustained a significant amount of combat losses and casualties. During that deployment, a small group of 5-2 wives and battalion support staff met weekly to run, seeking to create a support network for one another during this challenging and heartbreaking deployment. When the brigade returned, two of those Army wives and avid runners, Lisa Hallett and Erin O’Connor, turned this small group into a nationwide vision that now helps thousands heal from and work through the more challenging aspects of military life during a time of war. Lisa’s husband, CPT John Hallett, was one of four soldiers killed in that unit on August 25, 2009, while returning from a goodwill mission in Southern Afghanistan.