"[Army Capt. Sarah Get] had gotten notice of our Turkey Trot through a friend here in Georgia and wanted to know if she could do a shadow run for our Turkey Trot where she is stationed. ... I was overwhelmingly thrilled because I thought it was an opportunity for us here in Bartow County just to show our appreciation to the troops through our United Way," said Brenda Morehouse, president of the United Way of Bartow County. "And I knew that with all the board members and companies that are involved with United Way that that would be an awesome opportunity for them to also show their appreciation. So I was excited because there's a lot [of] runs here in Georgia. They could have chosen anybody."
Currently about 350 participants have registered for the camp's first shadow race, and it is open to all soldiers, sailors and airmen where Get is stationed.
"I've run in several shadow races in my previous deployment to Iraq, and I wanted to organize an event that would boost soldiers' morale and remind them of home," Get said in an e-mail to The Daily Tribune News. "My unit is based out of Georgia, and shadowing the United Way of Bartow County's Turkey Trot is especially meaningful for the soldiers in my unit. Additionally, the United Way's focus on communities strengthens our ties back home. We're incredibly grateful for all of the support we've received from the United Way of Bartow County."
For Cartersville's 5K, the United Way is seeking participants and sponsors. Last year the event featured 289 runners and netted $7,176. This year's fundraising goal is $8,000.
"[Special events] bring families together, bring them out to hear about United Way, about the things that we're doing, hear about the agencies that we give our money to," Morehouse said. "And that's what is really great about the Turkey Trot is it's right around the holiday season. We get a lot of families that sign up because it's a 5K walk or run. So it's a nice family event. We get lots of the agencies to come out and volunteer. It's important because it's a way to raise money for United Way, of course, but it's also the event of the year that has the largest participation and actually pulls the community together."
Set for Nov. 20 at 9 a.m., the Turkey Trot starts and finishes at the Cartersville Soccer Complex, behind Cartersville Middle School, at 152 Milner Road in Cartersville. Entrance fees for the rain-or-shine event are $17 per person if the registration form is postmarked prior to Nov. 6 and $22 afterward.
Sponsorships ranging from $250 to $50 also are available, providing businesses a variety of benefits based on the donation level. To be featured on the participants' T-shirts in Cartersville and overseas, businesses need to become a $250 gold level sponsor by Monday.
Proceeds from special events, like the Turkey Trot, go toward helping the local United Way meet its 2011 Live United Campaign goal of $475,000. Continuing through Nov. 30, the campaign is primarily going to generate funds through payroll deductions, which enables employees to donate a minimal amount yearlong, with a portion of their paycheck designated to the United Way.
Funds raised through the campaign are dispersed, based on need, to United Way's 15 agencies: AIDS Alliance of Northwest Georgia, Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter, Bartow County 4-H Club, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County, Bartow Civil Air Patrol, American Red Cross, Christian League for Battered Women, New Beginnings Food Outreach, The Salvation Army, Good Shepherd Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Hickory Log Vocational School, North Bartow Community Services, Bartow Health Access and Advocates for Children. The nonprofits provide services to more than 60,000 area residents each year.
For more information about the United Way or its Turkey Trot, call 770-386-1677 or visit www.bartowliveunited.org.