The morning of Saturday, Nov. 19, at 9 a.m., community members are welcome to join local firefighters in an effort to raise money for the United Way. Walkers and jogging strollers are welcome.
"We are so honored to have both the city and county fire departments not only supporting United Way in our fundraising efforts but actually participating in the race," said Johnette Dawson, United Way campaign chairman. "The community is encouraged to show support for the departments through donations and come out and participate or cheer on the chiefs and local firefighters."
"We were contacted by the United Way of Bartow County advising us that in memory of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, they wanted to recognize firefighters as part of this year's Turkey Trot," Millsap said.
"Obviously, it is a great honor to be recognized for the job that the men and women of the fire service do here," Millsap said. "It always feels good when we are appreciated. More importantly, Chief Carter and I saw this as an opportunity to help a great organization such as the United Way because of all of the things they do right here in Bartow County. Just recently they were of great assistance in helping us to deal with the immediate needs of our citizens right after the tornados hit. In addition, I don't think most people realize how much money that the United Way gives to other non-profit organizations that we use on a regular basis."
"Both chiefs have offered numerous ideas to enhance the Turkey Trot, and we believe the event will offer entertainment for all ages even if they are not runners," Dawson said.
"I have my own reasons for wanting to complete the race also," Millsap said. "Like most everyone else, I have let the pressures of family, career, and the hosts of other things that compete for our time prevent me from taking better care of my health. Having just celebrated my 40th birthday, I was forced to take a long look at myself.
"As heart attack is the No. 1 killer of firefighters (and especially fire chiefs), I knew I needed some motivation to get me moving in the right direction and this came along at just the right time. Seeing the training program on how to go 'from couch to 5K,' I thought to myself, I can do this.
"So I began the walking program and feel better everyday. My son and girlfriend are walking with me and helping to keep me motivated. Right now, I feel like I am making progress that I can continue even after the race."
The Turkey Trot is one of several special events held every year as a fundraiser for United Way during their annual fundraising campaign. This year's efforts are already underway and continue through Nov. 30.
The course, which has been outlined around Cartersville Middle School and the Etowah River Walk, is dubbed a "fast course." Water will be available to participants along the course and fruit and other drinks will be provided at the finish line.
To participate, an entrance fee of $20 must be postmarked before Nov. 1, or $25 after Nov. 1. According to the event flyer, the Turkey Trot will take place "rain or shine (even if it is cold)."
All participants will receive a long-sleeve T-shirt and overall male and female winners will receive trophies. Top finishers in each age group will receive a frozen turkey.
"It doesn't matter if you can run a marathon at record pace or just want to walk the course," Millsap said. "I want to encourage as many people as possible to come take part in this event, not only to support the United Way and the good work that they do, but to also recognize the fire fighting men and women who I have the good fortune of working with on a daily basis."
Online registration is available at: www.active.com/running/cartersville-ga/turkey-trot-5k-2011. Mail-in registration should be sent to: United Way of Bartow County, P.O. Box 1264, Cartersville, GA 30120.