Zach you are the race director for the upcoming Semper Fi 5K that raises money for the Semper Fi Fund. Can you tell us a little bit about the race and how you got involved?
The 1st Annual Semper Fi 5K run/walk (www.semperfi5k.com) will be held on October 9, 2010 at Hains Point in Washington DC to benefit the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. The Semper Fi Fund is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides financial assistance and quality of life solutions to Marines, wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as their families – since its inception in 2004, the Semper Fi Fund has distributed over 20,000 grants totaling more than $40 million.
Supporting the Semper Fi Fund is a cause that has become particularly important to me as I have gotten to know many Marines over the years. All of my friends in the Marines have returned safely from the war zones, but unfortunately not all of their friends have. Although we would like to think that the government can provide everything for these wounded warriors; the reality is that they need our private help. Many of them rely on charitable donations from organizations, such as the Semper Fi Fund, in order to have family members nearby while they recuperate in the hospital, as well as to help them get back on their feet financially when they return home.
You lived overseas for awhile – what was that like?
Living overseas has been wonderful. My family and I returned last summer from Armenia after a two year stint there. Previously we lived in Russia for two years. Assimilating into a new culture, learning a foreign language, and comparing/contrasting a new, adopted lifestyle with American life was a priceless experience. We’ll be in DC for a couple more years before heading out again overseas – it’s great to be home and nearer to friends/family, but we do look forward to getting out again to see and experience more of the world.
In addition to getting the Semper Fi 5K together, you organized two triathlons in Armenia?! What’s it like getting a race of that magnitude together in a foreign country?
Bringing Armenians, Americans, and other expatriates together for the first ever triathlons in Armenia in 2008 and 2009 turned out to be absolutely amazing experiences! Not only did we raise $25,000 for the Semper Fi Fund and an Armenian children’s charity, but we also inspired Armenians to become more physically active and more community oriented. Logistical challenges were tremendous as we conducted the triathlons at Lake Sevan, located more than an hour from the Armenian capital of Yerevan. With the help of an enthusiastic and all-volunteer organizing committee, we were able to enlist the support of the US Embassy, the Armenian Water Rescue Service, the Armenian National Police, numerous corporate sponsors, and an array of Armenian volunteers to put on a successful and injury-free event!
Is there a website people can go to donate if they are unable to run the race?
Anyone who would like to register for the Semper Fi 5K and/or make a donation to the Semper Fi Fund can visit www.semperfi5k.com. All donations are tax deductible!