Over the last several months, fellow classmate David Bates T’18 and I had the unique privilege to plan and execute Tuck Runs for Veterans, an annual fundraiser organized by the Tuck Armed Forces Alumni Association (AFAA).
This year, we partnered with the Veterans Education and Research Association of Northern New England (VERANNE), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in White River Junction, with the goal of purchasing a van to transport local veterans in the Upper Valley to and from veteran educational events in therapeutic sports and arts.
In what proved to be a valuable capstone to my first year at Tuck, this event left me with three key impressions as I reflect back on the experience.
Events like these are rarely an individual effort and I would be remiss if I didn’t take another opportunity thank all of those who volunteered their time and support to make this event possible. Whether designing posters, working the registration table, or dutifully manning and marking every turn on the race course, each person who contributed their time did so enthusiastically and selflessly. When given the opportunity to come together in support of something bigger than themselves, Tuckies show up in numbers, and they do it with a smile.
One of the things I heard most frequently about Tuck before arriving was the accessibility of alumni and their willingness to pick up the phone or lend a hand with just about anything you might need, career related or otherwise. Through the experience of Tuck Runs for Veterans, the quality of the Tuck alumni network was affirmed and sincerely appreciated. Generations of alums including Jeff Coleman T’87 at PROBAR and Caroline Kendall T’09 at Quoddy were quick to respond to the call, making donations and offering marketing advice. I also got in touch with past Tuck veterans who were excited to connect with the current AFAA leadership and made themselves available for support.
I was absolutely blown away by the turnout at Tuck Circle, which included over 150 5k runners, 20 Tiny Tuckies, 27 volunteers, the T’18 band, and a host of lively spectators. As a veteran myself, the overwhelming support from Tuck and the Upper Valley community, through participation and donations, made me realize just how special this place is.
To date, the Tuck AFAA has raised over $14,000 for VERANNE, which will help make alternative therapies and active rehabilitation more readily available to local area veterans. This was no easy task, especially for me. Soliciting funds, no matter how worthy the cause, is not something that comes naturally to me. In fact, I regularly shy away from this type of role because it puts me out of my element, far removed from my comfort zone. It is precisely this flavor of opportunity, however, that brought me to Tuck. I came here to be challenged, to be a part of an incredible community, and to grow as a person. When I learned about Tuck Runs for Veterans, I decided to take on an active role in raising awareness and support for veterans, even if it meant cold-calling companies and alumni to share our story.
David and I wrote letters and met with over 20 local businesses and foundations to help raise funds for our nonprofit partners and we received an outpouring of support. It is with tremendous gratitude that we offer a special thanks to the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, Mascoma Savings Bank, and many more individual contributors for their generous cash donations. Also, to Lo & Sons, Quoddy, Lou’s Restaurant & Bakery, Ramunto’s of Hanover, Skinny Pancake, Mighty Yoga, PROBAR, and R.e.d.d. for their prize and race day contributions. Last, but certainly not least, a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the event—we look forward to next year’s race!
Tuck AFAA is a community of U.S. and foreign graduate students committed to providing resources and support to veterans at Tuck and their families through integration, recruitment, and veterans’ networking initiatives. Additionally, the AFAA endeavors to raise awareness and create discourse about military and veterans’ issues within the Tuck School of Business and Greater Dartmouth College community.
Photos by Rob Strong
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